Do schools need a COVID-19 vaccine?

key takeaways

  • Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is now approved for individuals 5 years of age and older.
  • Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines are authorized only in individuals 18 and older.
  • Vaccine directives are implemented at the state level where compliance differences exist.
  • Vaccination regulations in schools may be difficult to enforce due to state waivers.
  • California, Louisiana and Washington, D.C. have announced COVID-19 vaccine authorizations for K-12 schools.

In December 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. On February 27, 2021, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. Many are looking at a vaccine as a possible solution to the rising COVID-19 cases that are forcing the closure of schools like schools across the country. Everyone 5 years and older is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and it’s unclear if the vaccine is required in schools.

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William Moss, MD, MPH, executive director of the Johns Hopkins International Center for Vaccine Access, believes that schools will not mandate vaccinations because of previous vaccination precedent. “I see mandatory vaccines are in healthcare settings,” Moss told VigorTip. “Many hospitals require anyone who comes in contact with a patient to be vaccinated against the flu. So there is precedent in these settings. I don’t expect a state to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine for children.”

However, on October 1, 2021, California officials announced plans to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for children in public schools. The new rules require students to be vaccinated at the beginning of the semester for in-person learning after the FDA has fully approved the vaccine for their age group. The assignment will be available to students in grades 7-12 starting in July 2022.

Although Louisiana and Washington, D.C. have announced similar plans, most states remain cautious about imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students, and some states have banned school mandates. The DC authorization is effective in March 2022, and the Louisiana authorization is effective for the 2022-2023 school year.

what does this mean to you

Many colleges and universities require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and starting in 2022, at least some children who attend school in California, Louisiana or Washington, D.C., will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you are obtaining vaccine-related information, please take a few extra seconds and double-check the source to determine if the information provided is true. Doing so can help you make more informed decisions about your health.

Challenges of getting vaccinated at school

Currently, only Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is fully FDA-approved for individuals 16 years of age and older; Emergency Use Authorization has been granted for children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 15. CDC recommends that all people 5 years and older get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is also fully approved by the FDA, although it’s only licensed to individuals 18 and older. In June 2021, the company applied for emergency use authorization for juveniles, but the FDA is still completing its review. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved for emergency use only in adults 18 and older.

On March 16, 2021, Moderna announced the initiation of a clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 6 months to 11 years. On March 31, 2021, Pfizer announced that it has also started the first dose of the vaccine in a trial in children 6 months to 11 years old. These studies are still ongoing.

Implementing vaccine authorization is challenging because vaccine-related laws are enforced at the state level, and vaccine compliance varies from state to state. All 50 states have legislation requiring certain vaccines for students with certain medical and religious exemptions. Currently, 15 states allow philosophical exemptions for people who oppose vaccination for personal reasons or moral beliefs.

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Vaccine adherence also varies by school. For example, one study found that private schools were more likely to receive higher rates of exemptions from school immunization requirements than public schools.In states that allow exemptions for personal beliefs, exemption rates are significantly higher. Children in private schools may be at higher risk of developing vaccine-preventable diseases than children in public schools.

How will the COVID-19 vaccine be distributed?

Even if a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized in children, the mission of schools is difficult because of how COVID-19 is expressed in children. Children with COVID-19 have much milder symptoms than older adults. Therefore, parents may not feel the urgent need to vaccinate their children.

Dan Cooper, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, contrasts this with diseases such as polio, which had a huge and visible impact in the first half of the 20th century.

“Polio can paralyze children and require assisted ventilation,” Copper told VigorTip. “So when you think about the risk-benefit ratio, the idea of ​​finding a vaccine prevents that, which is very different from COVID-19.”

For polio, the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risk of developing a disease that can paralyze children.

In a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 41 percent of parents of 12-17-year-olds said their child has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or will be vaccinated immediately. However, for parents of children under 12, only about 25% of respondents said they would vaccinate their children once a vaccine was approved for their age group, and a third said they would take a “wait and see” approach. “Attitude.

Monitoring Vaccine Misinformation

Parental hesitancy about vaccines predates the COVID-19 pandemic. In 1998, researchers in Lancet This suggests that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is associated with developmental disorders including autism in children.

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The paper was later retracted because there was insufficient data to conclude a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, and there were serious problems with the way the study was conducted. However, published stories are still relevant in today’s society. After the study was published, many parents around the world chose not to vaccinate their children out of fear of complications.

While misinformation and conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine can lead to confusion among the public about vaccinations, it’s important to stay informed. “I think all parents want to do what is best for their children. Sometimes fear or misinformation about vaccines can complicate the decision-making process,” Moss said. “We want to protect our kids. I actually think the best way is to vaccinate them, not avoid them.”

To stay informed about COVID-19 vaccinations and upcoming candidates, you can visit the FDA COVID-19 website.

COVID-19 Vaccines: Stay up to date on vaccines that are available, who can get them, and how safe they are.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means that you may have updated information as you read this article. For the latest updates on COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus news page.