Lawsuits over vaccine mandates as well as overreaching mandates imposed upon school-children are flooding the country’s legal system. Despite the suits contending the mandates saying they are unconstitutional, California is forging ahead. One Oakland school has become the first in Northern California to mandate vaccines for children; shortly after Los Angeles did the same.
On Wednesday, the Oakland Unified School District voted to require vaccines for its students. The Hill writes that the vote passed “nearly unanimously and applies to all students aged 12 and up, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.”
Also on Wednesday, “a group of state lawmakers sent a letter to East Bay school boards calling on them to enact vaccine requirements.” Mike Hutchinson was the Oakland school board member who did not agree with the mandate, saying it should be left up to lawmakers.
“The idea of local school boards across California deciding what’s required for vaccination to enter into school scares me,” said Hutchinson.
“The failure of action is actually from the state representatives that sent this letter,” he added. “It’s their failure of action why we’re in this situation. … Why haven’t they introduced legislation in Sacramento, which would provide the real solution to the problem we’re facing?”
Oakland comes after the Los Angeles Unified School District which voted earlier this month to require all eligible students to get fully vaccinated by early next year. In a Thursday briefing, the state’s Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly praised the school boards.
The Los Angeles Times reports, “Ghaly noted — as have various school officials — that the state already has one of the strongest immunization mandates in the nation for students. It allowed exemptions only for students with medical conditions that make vaccination dangerous for them, and covers charter and private schools as well as traditional public schools.”
Even the Los Angeles Times urges caution:
But … but …. it’s incumbent on state officials to go about this fairly and in accordance with the science. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the one furthest along in the approval process for kids, does not yet have final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for 12- to 15-year-olds. Though this younger group is eligible to receive the vaccine, that’s under emergency use authorization, which provides opportunities to refuse the vaccine. Final approval has been given for people 16 and older.
True, but all of the required childhood inoculations have the final approval of the FDA for use in children. If the FDA wants more data before issuing its full OK for younger adolescents, the state should be following the lead of the agency charged with examining these matters. California can and should encourage the vaccines for all eligible kids but should wait for the federal signal before forcing the issue.