On Friday, the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom announced that students attending school in person will be required to get vaccinated for Covid-19 upon full FDA approval of vaccines for their age group.
The order by the governor is expected to roll out in two phases and is specifically for students who are attending physical classes. According to the governor, the mandate will initially take effect for students aged 12 and above after the FDA grants full approval to vaccines for that age group.
Currently, Pfizer’s Covid vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 has only been authorized for emergency use basis. However, the vaccines for children aged 16 and 17 was approved by the FDA in August.
What they are saying
The governor said that students 12 and above will need to comply with the mandate from as early as January 1st or as late as July 1st depending on when FDA authorization takes place.
In addition, he said the state will then enforce a second phase of the mandate for students under 12 to be vaccinated after full FDA authorization is given for that age group.
At a press conference, the governor said, “Currently, we have in the state of California administered at least one dose to 63.5% of all of our young cohort ages 12 to 17. But we have to do more — 84% of all eligible received one dose, but for 12 to 17, we’re not where we need to be.”
Recall that, Pfizer submitted an initial trial data to the FDA for children aged 5 to 11 in September and said that it would request authorization on emergency use in the approaching weeks.
The FDA announced that it has scheduled a meeting to review Pfizer’s application to authorize shots to be given to that age group, so as to make it possible to start the administration of Covid-19 vaccines to children aged 5 to 11 by Halloween or shortly thereafter.
According to the California Department of Education, the state reported more than 6 million public school students as of April. The governor issued a weekly testing mandate for all unvaccinated school staff on Aug. 11.
He further added that he was waiting on further guidance from the Biden administration before enacting the vaccine mandate for all school staff to correspond with the upcoming rollout for students.