Dewan: School COVID-19 vaccine mandate timeline delayed
Nate Huynh, 9, was among the first few hundred kids who got the COVID-19 vaccine at the Emmanuel Baptist Church on Nov. 3. Photo by Tran Nguyen.

With the current school year nearly over, many parents and community members have been asking about the status of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate announced last year for school children.

The state of California had previously announced plans to require the COVID-19 vaccine for children to attend school
sometime after the FDA fully approves the vaccine.

On Thursday, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced a new timeline for its planned COVID-19 vaccine mandate for schools, as it will not initiate the rule-making process to require the COVID-19 vaccine for the upcoming 2022-23 school year.

COVID-19 vaccine requirements will not take effect until July 1, 2023 at the earliest. This new timeline will ensure that school communities and families have more time to plan for and implement any new vaccine requirements.

Full approval by the FDA is needed before starting the rule-making process to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of other childhood vaccinations already required for in-person school attendance by California’s Health and Safety Code.

Once fully approved by the FDA, CDPH will then review and consider the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians prior to implementing a school vaccine requirement.

Vaccines, masks and COVID-19 testing resources have helped schools maintain in-person instruction throughout the school year. Vaccines remain the most effective tool against hospitalization and serious illness due to COVID-19.

CDPH emphasizes the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine and strongly encourages all eligible Californians, including eligible children, to get vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is readily available throughout Santa Clara County from pediatricians, clinics and pharmacies. To learn more or schedule an appointment, visit www.SCCfreevax.org or call a health care provider.

San José Spotlight columnist Mary Ann Dewan is the superintendent of schools for Santa Clara County. She has more than 33 years of experience in the field of education. Her columns appear every third Monday of the month.

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