California requires Covid vaccination for K-12 school children after full FDA approval

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference following meeting with students from James Denman Middle School on October 01, 2021 in San Francisco, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

California requires students who attend school in person to be vaccinated against Covid-19 after full approval by the Food and Drug Administration, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Friday.

Newsom’s latest order, the first of its kind in the country, is rolling out in two phases for students studying in person. The mandate will only come into effect for students 12 years and older only after the FDA has fully approved the entire age group.

Pfizer’s Covid vaccine is currently only approved for use in emergencies for children ages 12-15. The FDA approved the vaccine for children 16 years and older in August.

Newsom said California will apply the mandate for students 12 and older as early as January 1, but possibly by July 1, depending on when FDA clears.

Anti-vaccine protesters hold a protest outside the San Diego Unified School District office to celebrate Jan.

Sandy Huffaker | Getty Images

California will then apply the vaccination mandate for students under the age of 12 in a second phase after full FDA approval for that age group. Pfizer presented initial study data to the FDA last month for children ages 5-11 and announced that it will file for emergency approval in the coming weeks.

The FDA has scheduled a meeting for October 26th to review Pfizer’s application to vaccinate this age group so that covid vaccines can begin to be given to 5-11 year olds by Halloween or shortly thereafter.

“Currently, in the state of California, we have given at least one dose to 63.5% of all of our young cohort ages 12-17,” Newsom said at a news conference. “But we have to do more – 84% of all those eligible have received a dose, but for 12-17 we’re not where we need to be.”

California enrolled more than 6 million students in public schools in April, according to the Department of Education.

Newsom had previously issued a weekly test mandate to all unvaccinated school employees on August 11. The governor added that he is awaiting further instructions from the Biden government before issuing a vaccine mandate for all school staff to match the upcoming rollout for students.

Similar test mandates for California and health care workers who refuse to vaccinate also went into effect in early August.

This is a developing story. Please check again whether an update is required.


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