California governor Gavin Newsom announced Friday that his administration will be implementing a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all students in California schools, adding it to the list of vaccines that are already mandatory to attend school in-person. The requirement will apply to both public and private schools.
“We intend to do that once the FDA has fully approved the vaccine which will give us time to work with districts, give us time to work with parents and educators to build more trust and confidence and build out logistics so that we can deliver on what we’re promoting today,” Newsom said.
The AP reports that the rule will take effect “the semester after the federal government grants final approval,” meaning if announced in January, implementation will begin in July. The requirement will be rolled out in two phases, beginning with grades 7 through 12, and then grades K through 6. Exemptions for medical, personal, or religious reasons will still be allowed under the new policy.
Currently, the FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine for ages 16 and older. Children ages 12 to 15 are able to receive the two-dose Pfizer shot under an emergency-use authorization, but has yet to receive full approval. The company is also still waiting for emergency authorization for its vaccine to be used in younger children.