COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement Bill Introduced
Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) this morning announced he is introducing a bill that would add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required vaccines for student enrollment in public school.
Pan’s bill would not permit a personal or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement. It would only allow for medical exemptions. It would take effect January 1, 2023, and not require full FDA approval. Currently, the Newsom Administration’s vaccine mandate is contingent upon full FDA approval and allows for a personal belief exemption. Only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is fully approved for children ages 16 and older, though vaccine manufacturers are seeking full FDA approval for younger ages in the near future.
Pan’s bill would also allow the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to mandate vaccines for children to enroll in school without requiring the state to offer a personal belief exemption, something that can currently only be done through legislation.
Senator Pan is a pediatrician, a long-time champion of vaccinations for children, and no stranger to vaccine mandate fights. He authored legislation a few years ago to remove the personal and religious belief exemption for student vaccines from law after a troubling rise in vaccine-preventable infections among children. Current law only permits a medical exemption from state-mandated vaccines for children to enroll in school. At the time, Pan and his family faced death threats and were put under full-time protection by the California Highway Patrol.
Senator Pan is termed out of office this year, a circumstance that is likely driving his decision to push the bill during a hyper-political election year.
Pan’s bill is supported by the California Medical Association and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the San Diego Unified School Districts. Both districts instituted their own local COVID-19 vaccine mandates, going beyond the state’s requirement, though LAUSD has since delayed their mandate’s implementation. Both districts are facing legal challenges to their ability to require such vaccines.
We will provide additional analysis of Pan’s bill when it is in print.
This bill is going to be very controversial, but please note that there will be significant challenges to getting a bill as this passed during an election year. If a version of the bill eventually becomes law, it will likely be heavily amended. So, whether you are for or against this bill, there is a long road ahead before the outcome will be decided.
- Posted by CCIS
- On January 24, 2022
Will this vaccine requirement be for all students–including those that are enrolled in IS programs?
If this goes into law, please understand parents will pull their kids out (a good number will move out of state). You will lose a large quantity of educators that will cause an even bigger shortage as paraprofessionals are now illegally substituting in classes as it is. This will spiral California deeper in issues. Not allowing for personal or religious exemptions (especially religious) is absolutely against the Constitution (my husband is an attorney). The state will be losing money from a plethora of lawsuits from different religious faiths and congregations (Some muslims do not vaccinate, Catholics do not on occasion, Jehovah witnesses, etc). The state will be in bigger debt if Newsom and the CTA decide to take this route. Be mindful, this will get ugly and, in the end, the state and union will lose and have to pay in the millions for each lawsuit. This isn’t an opinion, I am hearing of many that are already talking to their attorneys, getting ready for the fight.
Well said Christina! My husband and I have been teachers at a continuation high school for many years. We work hard for at-risk students to keep them in school. This bill will undo so much of what our staff has done to get kids to attend especially among low income students. The same students who are “at risk” of not getting vaccinated are also at risk of dropping out of school. If you force vaccination so many of those kids will just drop out. They use any excuse not to come to school. We are barely able to keep up with kids who already dont show up. If this passes we will for sure not be able to keep up. They will be lost to the system. We cannot just watch that happen. So we will likely move out of California. This affects so many aspects of California life for so many different types of people.