New California Bill Would Require K-12 Students To Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19

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By Jose Cruz Roa 

 

With schools all around the nation slowly moving back to in-person learning after being online for almost two years, many parents are hesitant to send their children back to school. To ease those fears, California State Senator Richard Pan from Sacramento is proposing new legislation that will require students to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

 

In a recent survey conducted in August 2021, parents of K-8 students were asked if they were concerned about sending their children back to school for in-person instruction. A majority, 60.4 percent, said they were concerned. 59.6 percent said they were somewhat concerned or very concerned about exposure to unvaccinated adults and other classmates.

 

On Monday, Senator Pan proposed a new bill to combat the COVID-19 virus and ensure the safety of students. This bill would require California students from K-12 to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting Jan. 2023, unless they have a medical exemption. If the bill passes, Pan claims it is set to serve “as a cornerstone to keeping school open and safe,” and will override an exemption in the state’s current vaccine mandate. 

 

This piece of legislation will eliminate the current personal belief exemption in school-based COVID-19 vaccination requirements. At a conference at a Los Angeles school, Pan argued that “Families across the state and country have faced disruption, anxiety, and trauma from this pandemic for almost two years. Confidence and certainty are things we all long for.” 

 

Last year, Governor Gavin Newson similarly called for a student vaccine mandate. The mandate was eventually blocked by the lower courts. “Governor Newsom got out front, he issued his executive order, but state law would make it much more certain and less likely to be challenged in court,” Pan told the Sacramento Bee. Others have agreed with Pan’s new legislation claiming that “Mandates work and they save lives. A vaccinated person has less severe reactions. The virus is less transmissible if a person is vaccinated and this reduces the opportunity for the virus to spread and mutate to another variant,” said Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Megan Reilly. 

 

Pan’s bill is the second major vaccine bill proposed this year. 

 

Senator Scott Wiener from San Francisco introduced a new piece of legislation last Thursday. The new bill would allow California children and teens over the age of 12 to get vaccinated without a parent’s consent, allowing the youngest age of any state to be vaccinated. 

 

Currently, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is fully authorized only for children over the age of 16. However, younger kids can get it under an emergency use authorization, but with Wiener’s new bill, younger kids will have autonomy in obtaining the COVID-19 shot with parental consent.

 

At a news conference at San Francisco’s Everett Middle School, Wiener told reporters, “You have parents who are blocking their kids from getting the vaccines or…they may not be anti-vaccine but they just aren’t prioritizing it.”

 

“Those kids deserve the right to protect themselves,” Wiener stated. 

 

Dan McDunn, a Berkeley resident who has kids attending Berkeley High and Willard Middle School has already shared his views on opposing Wiener’s bill, calling it “absolutely insane.” “They’re not the getting the numbers they want, so they’ve taken the most stringent measures,” claims McDunn. 

 

Similar to Wieners’ legislation, it is expected that Pan’s new bill will receive criticism and opposition from parents and lawmakers. 

 

Recently, Republican lawmaker James Gallagher from Yuba City took to Twitter to share his opinions and announced that he will be in opposition to Pan’s new legislation. “I am absolutely going to oppose removing COVID vaccine exemptions for schoolchildren,” Gallagher wrote. “This is wrong and an unconscionable overreach into the family over a virus that poses very minimal threat to young children.”

 

“We need to make a concerted effort to educate families about vaccines,” Pan explained when announcing the bill at the press conference in Los Angeles. “There are all kinds of people who try to say that children aren’t affected by the virus. We know that’s not true. Children can get very sick. Some have unfortunately even died from this virus.” 

 

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About The Author

Jordan Varney received a masters from UC Davis in Psychology and a B.S. in Computer Science from Harvey Mudd. Varney is editor in chief of the Vanguard at UC Davis.

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8 thoughts on “New California Bill Would Require K-12 Students To Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19”

  1. Alan Miller

    many parents are hesitant to send their children back to school. To ease those fears, California State Senator Richard Pan from Sacramento is proposing new legislation that will require students to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

    To ease those fears?  The virus spreads among vaccinated people, so this may reduce the spread, but it won’t ease fears much.

    In a recent survey . . . X% said they were Y concerned or Z concerned about exposure to unvaccinated adults and other classmates.

    But exposure to unvaccinated people isn’t the issue, it’s exposure to people who can spread the virus, which includes vaccinated people.

    On Monday, Senator Pan proposed a new bill to combat the COVID-19 virus and ensure the safety of students.

    Ensure?!!!  Ensure my arse!

    Need I explain why no amount of legislation or vaccination will ensure?

     . . . unless they have a medical exemption.

    Thus spawning a slue of doctors giving false exemptions, probably the same doctor crowd that gave false medical marijuana cards.

    “as a cornerstone to keeping school open and safe,”

    If you say so.

    and will override an exemption in the state’s current vaccine mandate.  This piece of legislation will eliminate the current personal belief exemption in school-based COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

    So if you don’t believe in putting a substance in your body, the state can force you to.  America, America God shed His grace on Thee.

    Senator Scott Wiener . . . introduced a new piece of legislation . . . would allow California children and teens over the age of 12 to get vaccinated without a parent’s consent . . .

    If you’re over the age of 12 you’re a teen . . . but more importantly doesn’t that sort of negate the idea of ‘parent’ ?  Is that even legal?  The only law I can think of that allows such pre-emption of parenting is the right to an abortion, though I’m sure there are others.

    Currently, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is fully authorized only for children over the age of 16. However, younger kids can get it under an emergency use authorization, but with Wiener’s new bill, younger kids will have autonomy in obtaining the COVID-19 shot with parental consent.

    With parental consent?  If they need parental consent to have autonomy, how does the bill exempt parental consent in blocking getting the vaccine?  And how does Wiener’s bill override the need for emergency use authorization?

    “You have parents who are blocking their kids from getting the vaccines . . . ”

    Thus, ‘parent’.

    “Those kids deserve the right to protect themselves,” Wiener stated.

    Remind us the odds a child getting severely ill or dying from Covid-19, oh wise one ?

    “We need to make a concerted effort to educate families about vaccines,”

    Why?  Just mandate the jab and education will be unnecessary.

    “There are all kinds of people who try to say that children aren’t affected by the virus. We know that’s not true. Children can get very sick. Some have unfortunately even died from this virus.”

    Remind us the odds a child getting severely ill or dying from Covid-19, oh wise one ?

    To be clear, my view is that I don’t think anyone should be mandated to put anything in their bodies.  However, I also don’t think they then have the right to endanger others, so I am against mandates but in favor of centralized electronic vaccine passports with a requirement that all public gathering spots be required to clearly disclose online and at the entrance if these are required for entrance.  Giving both businesses and the public knowledge and choice.

    With schools, similarly there should be no mandate to vaccinate, and children are under the watch of their parents on such matters.  However, public schools should also be able to exclude students who are not vaccinated.  Were this anything but public schools, I’d say it ends there, educate your kids at home.  But because the purpose of public schools is to provide an education for all socioeconomic groups, some sort of alternate access or stipend should be given to allow access to an education for those not attending public schools due to being blocked as unvaccinated.

    I know few to none will fully or even partially agree with me, so have a nice discussion, everyone!

    1. Hiram Jackson

      Alan:  ‘However, public schools should also be able to exclude students who are not vaccinated.  Were this anything but public schools, I’d say it ends there, educate your kids at home.  But because the purpose of public schools is to provide an education for all socioeconomic groups, some sort of alternate access or stipend should be given to allow access to an education for those not attending public schools due to being blocked as unvaccinated.’

      Before the pandemic this issue came up statewide because measles was being spread among students.  The state tightened restrictions as a result.   I know that kindergarten compliance by school is occasionally reported to the public, for example.

      Davis JUSD has the Davis School for Independent Study which offers directed home school options.  I don’t know if parents use that program to avoid having to give their kids vaccines, but generally public schools require a number of vaccines, like measles, polio, etc.  This kind of policy has been around for decades.

      If you read local newspaper accounts from the beginning of the 1900s for any community, you would regularly find news items of kids and adults dying from preventable diseases.  Nowadays that’s much more rare.

      1. Don Shor

        To attend school in California students have to provide proof of vaccination for eleven different diseases.
        There are some medical exemptions. Personal beliefs and religious exemptions are not acceptable any more.

        Ҥ 6060. Pupil Not Completely Immunized for Age or Grade and Exposed to Communicable Disease. (a) The governing authority shall maintain a list of all pupils not completely immunized for age or grade, including pupils with exemptions or who are admitted conditionally. The list shall include the immunizations not yet received for each pupil.
        (b) Whenever the governing authority has good cause to believe that a pupil who is not completely immunized against a particular communicable disease may have been exposed to that disease, the governing authority shall immediately inform the local health officer. The local health officer shall determine whether the pupil is at risk of developing or transmitting the disease and, if so, may require the exclusion of the pupil from that school or pre-kindergarten facility until the completion of the incubation period or, if infection is suspected or occurs, until completion of the period in which the disease is communicable.”

        1. Bill Marshall

          To all solutions, there is a problem… vaccination (COVID) is limited to those 5 years or older… not all kids are 5 years old when they enter K… some are younger… no one has probably considered that (legislatively)…

          1. Don Shor

            Pfizer vaccine for kids under 5 should be available by the end of February. Also worth noting that school isn’t compulsory in California until age 6.

  2. Alan Miller

    Seriously?!! – I wrote controversial, considered positions on masks & mandates in two articles on aspects of Covid-19 yesterday, hoping to spark some discussion.  And here is the robust discussion:

    #crickets#

    Does anyone care about Covid-19 policy anymore?  Is there even a pandemic?

    Sheeesh.

  3. Bill Marshall

     Also worth noting that school isn’t compulsory in California until age 6.

    Yet, there are pushes for pre-K… many kids are more than ready for K when they’re 4 +… why keep them out just because it “isn’t compulsory”?

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