The COVID19 vaccine developed by Pfizer has been authorized for emergency use in Children in the US recently. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given a green signal to the vaccine that is going to be used in children who are as young as 12 years. However, it seems that the schools in the US might not make vaccination mandatory for children to attend in-person classes anytime soon. Considering vaccine hesitancy among people and communities and political snags, schools might not require shots for children, said the experts. A law professor, Dorit Rubinstein Reiss from the University of California-Hastings has said that for the most part, state governments can mandate that a vaccine is required for children who are attending K-12 public schools. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss has been studying school mandates and legal issues related to vaccines. He has said that all states must pass a full legislature to be added to the compulsory vaccine list. She has informed that no state government has yet made vaccination mandatory for schools. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss has said that it is very dubious that state governments will push towards making COVID19 vaccination mandatory for children who are attending schools this year. She has said that it is a political gambit and the legislature will not even try for making the COVID19 vaccine mandatory for children as young as 12 years until they are done with kids who are 5 years and above, as authorities do not want to go through the whole process twice.
There are clear signs that proponents of vaccination mandate might face strict opposition. As per the report, even before the COVID19 vaccine for children has been authorized for kids and teenagers in the US, many Republican lawmakers from dozens of statehouses filed petitions to halt COVID19 immunization mandates stating that shots are too new to compel people to take against their wish. Republican state Senator Mark Steffen who is also an anesthesiologist has made a bill that can strip the state’s health department of its authority to add a new vaccine to the current list of mandatory shots. However, the bill is still under review by the committee. During a hearing on the bill, Mark Steffen has said that it is an experimental vaccine that can be gene-altering. He has said that it can shoot up long-term risks that will not be known for decades. Experts from Harvard, Northwestern, Northeastern, and Rutgers Universities have done a survey in April that has included around 22000 people across the country. The survey has found that over a quarter of mothers have been extremely hesitant about vaccinating their kids. Harvard, Northwestern, Northeastern, and Rutgers Universities are part of the COVID States project as well. The president of the American Federation of Teachers union, Randi Weingarten has said that considering rising hesitancy and reluctance about vaccination, education leaders should not concentrate on making vaccines mandatory. She has said that at this time, people should be educated about the efficiency of vaccines. She has claimed that parents from minority ethnic communities should be educated about the efficacy of the vaccines, as they have faced the brunt of the pandemic the most.
Randi Weingarten and her colleagues have accepted the fact that vaccines are vital for normal school experience. Randi Weingarten has been representing school leaders and staff. Experts have said that the Los Angeles Unified school district that is the second largest in the US accommodating around 650000 students has been most upbeat on vaccinating their students. As per the report, nearly 15 vaccination sites are located in Los Angeles schools. Superintendent Austin Beutner has said that a vaccine should be accessible to all middle and high school students as soon as possible. There are some private schools that are going ahead with the vaccine mandates. St. Luke’s School in Connecticut, New Canaan has said that students who are in 5th to 12th grade must take the COVID19 vaccine to attend school in the fall. The head of St. Luke’s school, Mark Davis has said that the decision has been taken after consulting with a health task force that includes parents who are doctors. He has said that the school has made vaccines mandatory after considering the guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It says that people who are fully vaccinated do not require isolation even if they are exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It means that kids can remain in the classroom in case of exposure to the virus if they are vaccinated with two doses. Most parents and around 600 students have come forward in support of the mandate. However, there have been four or five families that have been a little hesitant about vaccinating their kids. Davis has said that he is well aware of the long history of mandated vaccines for ailments such as whooping cough and polio and the advantages of in-person learning. Many experts have said that it is shameful that some people have politicized the issue of vaccination in the US.