Home / Health / Can schools order the Covid-19 vaccine for children? what we know

Can schools order the Covid-19 vaccine for children? what we know

education staff health workers And many parents believe that vaccination prevents COVID-19. Children will play an important role in returning to normal life in time for face-to-face learning in the fall. That stance has made some parents wonder: Will K-12 students be mandated for immunizations to be allowed on campus this fall?

About 23% of youth ages 12 to 15 have received at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Because US health regulators It was allowed in that age group last month. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

About 51% of people agreed to vaccinate middle school students, 56% for high school students, and 61% for college students. According to a Gallup survey of more than 3,500 adults in May.

About 53% of parents of children between the ages of 1

2 and 15 said they plan to have their children vaccinated. The same percentage of parents of children under 12 said they planned to have their children vaccinated when given the green light.

Schools and school districts generally do not have the authority to order student vaccinations.


Mike Segar/Reuters

Government policy on vaccinations will play a key role in whether schools can require vaccination against COVID-19, in the same way the number is required for infectious diseases such as measles.

Can schools order the Covid-19 vaccine?

Schools and school districts generally do not have the authority to order student vaccinations.

But other agencies can: Namely, state legislators or health officials acting under legislative powers, says Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a professor of public health law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

One exception is New York City. A 2018 court case over influenza vaccination suggests city officials may need a vaccine for students. other than those permitted by the state.

“This is already a very regulated area,” Ms Reiss said.

Some states, such as California, allow state health agencies to add other vaccines. to the agencies required by law But the Department of Health never used that allowance at all. Ms. Reiss said. She added that 10 of the 10 vaccines on California’s approved list had been added through the legislature.

State lawmakers show interest in delegating COVID-19 vaccine powers For K-12 students?

That’s not true, and it’s no wonder Mr Reiss said. for beginners The vaccine is only approved for use in children 12 years of age and older. Therefore, arguing that vaccines are necessary may prove difficult. If only half of the school population could be vaccinated. Mrs Reiss said. Lawmakers are unlikely to push for an order until the vaccine is approved for use in all school-age children. Another reason is the COVID-19 vaccine. All three are approved under approval for emergency use, Ms Reiss said, although the status doesn’t necessarily preclude the mandate. But it weakens the legal status.

Oklahoma became the first state to pass legislation blocking the K-12 vaccine requirement, a bill signed by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt late last month. It also prohibits schools from enforcing mask orders on unvaccinated students. A similar bill banning schools from requiring vaccines is being passed through the Michigan and Pennsylvania legislatures.

School districts need a COVID-19 vaccine Ordered or not?

Many people are silent about it. Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City. which has power over the school stated last week that he was not keen on the vaccine order.

“I think when we get into the delegation business, We create conflicts we don’t want in this regard,” de Blasio said, adding that it would be better to increase vaccination by educating yourself on the effectiveness of vaccines.

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Austin Beutner, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District in Los Angeles, said compulsory vaccination should be done when it has been proven to be safe and effective.

“I expect that in the near future—I don’t know for weeks, months, or hopefully not years—the state will command it. Why do we treat Covid differently than treat measles and mumps? It doesn’t make sense to me,” Beutner said.

Beutner, the head of the country’s second-largest school district, said he had been discussing the potential mandate with state legislators for months. and when the politics of this topic were abandoned Many people agree that vaccinations should be made. There are different views on when is the right time to act, he said.

Beutner will quit her job at the end of the month.

Schools in nearly 50 cities, including New York City, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Detroit, are offering vaccines to students and families at school buildings. According to the Great City School Council

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What did the teacher say?

The National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers’ union, said it had no national position. and the Teachers’ Federation of the United States The group’s president, Randi Weingarten, said it was important to convince people of the vaccine’s effectiveness to overcome hesitation.

Vaccines against COVID-19 How effective is it in children?

study results of Pfizer-BioNTech with 2,260 adolescents found that the two injections were 100% effective in preventing Covid-19 symptoms in children aged 12 to 15.

So far, researchers have found no evidence that vaccines pose additional or different risks to children and adults. The most common side effects of vaccines, according to the CDC, are cold symptoms, such as fever, muscle aches and chills.

Does the school vaccine directive work?

Yes, according to Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Center for Vaccine Education at Children’s Hospital Philadelphia. Consider a case of measles. This is the first vaccine to be mandated in schools in some states. According to a 2003 annual report in the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics. “Evidence shows that states with school immunization laws have 40-51% lower rates of measles than states without such laws.”

Such findings have led to stronger state powers and enforcement.

Dr. Office said “With those regulations So we finally got rid of measles from this country.”

Every state requires children to be vaccinated to go to school. They are vaccinated against mumps, measles and rubella. including polio and diphtheria But there are exceptions. Six states—West Virginia, Mississippi, New York, Maine, California, and Connecticut—only allow medical exemptions.

Forty-four states and the District of Columbia grant religious exemptions, and 15 states allow philosophical exemptions. According to the National Assembly of the State Legislature

US college more and more Require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to university The policy has sparked debate about whether businesses and institutions such as schools can prescribe vaccines as a condition. Photo: Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University.

What about college?

Hundreds of colleges and universities both public and private Require students to be vaccinated to attend campus learning this fall.

The legal restrictions that bind K-12 schools do not always apply. This is because most public universities have autonomy from the state. And private universities are generally not subject to state regulations, Reiss said, but the autonomy of public universities is often not strong enough to override state law. If the state says public universities can’t make a COVID-19 vaccine It is a condition for participation, as is the case with Oklahoma and Utah. The powers of universities may also be limited, Ms Reese said.

What’s next?

Some public health experts and pediatricians warn that it is prudent to wait until more information is available before prescribing the COVID-19 vaccine as a requirement. Duke University pediatrics professor Danny Benjamin said he would. The “maximum data” on the efficacy and mortality of vaccines at doses larger than those provided in the first trial. Dr Benjamin said “We are at the beginning of the life cycle.

Dr Benjamin, whose four children have been vaccinated including two as part of the first trial, said he was hesitant about the vaccine. The best way is not to rush. Rather than encouraging vaccination with motivation and education would be better, he said.

write to Yoree Koh at yoree.koh@wsj.com

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