Last Thursday, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that a statewide requirement for K-12 students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will be delayed at least until the 2023-24 school year. California had initially intended to require student vaccinations for the 2022-23 school year, but that was contingent on the FDA fully approving the vaccine for most students.
Since it’s not known when the FDA will grant full approval, CDPH says health officials and schools will need more time for successful implementation of new vaccine requirements.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is fully approved by the FDA for students ages 16 and older. It is also available to children ages five and older under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization process. CDPH continues to recommend that all eligible Californians be vaccinated.
“The COVID-19 vaccine remains a vital tool in the ongoing effort to keep schools open and students in class,” said Dr. César Morales, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools. “Being vaccinated dramatically reduces the chances of serious illness from a COVID-19 infection, and I urge everyone who is able to be vaccinated to do so.”
The state’s proposed COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students includes a personal belief exemption. California Senate Bill 871, which sought to remove the personal belief exemption and bring the COVID-19 vaccine in line with other required school vaccines – such as measles and mumps – has been withdrawn by its author, Senator Richard Pan of Sacramento.
Information about COVID-19 vaccination options in Ventura County is available at www.venturacountyrecovers.org/vaccine-information.