Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday that California will require kids to get the COVID-19 vaccine to come to school.
Newsom said all students, elementary through high school age, would be required to receive the vaccine upon their age demographic receiving final approval from the FDA for the vaccine. The governor stated there would be exemptions for medical and personal/religious beliefs.
“I believe we will be the first state in America to move forward with this mandate and requirement, but I do not believe by any stretch of the imagination we will be the last state. In fact, I anticipate other states to follow suit, as well.”
Newsom said that in the state of California, 63.5% of those ages 12 to 17 have been vaccinated, but added that the state is not where it needs to be.
“And so, we hope this encourages folks to get vaccinated,” said Newsom.
The state has already announced that by Oct. 15 all school employees in the state would be required to either show proof of vaccination or be tested once per week, which caught a number of local school districts off-guard.
“Following existing statute, full approval of ages 12+ corresponds to grades 7-12, and full approval of ages 5-11 corresponds to grades K-6,” read a press release from the governor’s office. “Students who are under the age of full approval, but within the grade span, will be required to be vaccinated once they reach the age of full approval.”
The requirement will take effect at the start of the term following full approval of that grade span, to be defined as Jan. 1 or July 1, whichever comes first.
“Based on current information, the requirement is expected to apply to grades 7-12 starting on July 1, 2022,” the release added. “However, local health jurisdictions and local education agencies are encouraged to implement requirements ahead of a statewide requirement based on their local circumstances.”
Newsom said schools already require vaccines for measles, mumps and more, and said the requirement is proof that vaccines work.
“This is about keeping our kids safe and healthy,” said Newsom via Twitter.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.