In a first for the U.S., California has mandated the coronavirus vaccine for schoolchildren of age, with Governor Gavin Newsom saying it won't take full effect until the vaccine has been approved for kids in two age groups--12-15-year-old kids and 5-11-year-old kids.

California was the first state to issue stay-at-home orders during the initial days of the COVID pandemic, and now is making history again with the mandating of the vaccine as a necessity for attending school. Governor Newsome said the mandate won't take effect until the U.S. has approved the vaccine for the age groups--12 to 15 year-olds and 5-11-year-olds. This could mean that children in 7th-12th grades would have until next July to get vaccinated. No timeframe is available for 5 to 11-year-old children as the government hasn't approved any COVID-19 vaccine for that age group as of yet. Other countries like Great Britain and Sweden have advised against the vaccine at this age range unless the child is in a vulnerable risk group for the time being.

Newsome says this mandate is not unlike those for the other 10 immunizations California law requires for school children in public schools. These included Measles, Mumps and Rubella, as well as Polio. California has stated it will grant exemptions for medical reasons, as well as personal and religious beliefs. Rules for these exemptions will be written after public input is given. Students who do not take the vaccine nor file for an exemption would be required to do independent study in their homes.

This mandate potentially affects over 6.7 million children.

Newsom said that the state needs to do more to end the pandemic, as they're all exhausted by it, and sees mandatory vaccinations for children as part of that process. California already has one of the highest vaccination rates with 84% of their population claiming vaccination in those 12 and over (at least one shot). Still, over a thousand people gathered at the state Capitol to protest vaccine mandates. Parents claim that the decisions for what goes in their children's bodies should be theirs.

Already, several school districts in the U.S., including the two largest in California, have mandated vaccines for varying age groups of attendance and employment. Other states refuse to do so, and even go so far as to overturn mask mandates as well.

Newsom has already required over 2.2 million health care workers and state employees in California to get vaccinated in order to keep their jobs. This has resulted in several walking away from their long-standing professions as they claim bodily autonomy.

Interestingly, Gov. Newsom opposed a requirement for adult prison guards to have vaccines to protect the prison population. Some say this was because the labor union of corrections officers donated large amounts of money in his recent recall campaign. Citing politics over public safety, parents are outraged that the mandate targets children but allows other adults to decide for themselves.

In a tweet on Friday, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley said that kids were suffering because they didn't give Newsom millions in campaign dollars.

California has a state positivity rate of 2.8%, and hospitalization rates have fallen by 40%. Some say that these are incredibly low rates given that the schools are open and children for the most part not currently vaccinated. They say the need for children to be vaccinated is not there with these numbers. Still, others say it's the vaccination that will keep the numbers low. Many California teachers' unions and school boards back the mandate.

Experts say that mandating vaccines is not a new concept and that Gov. Newsom is just expanding the requirements to continue to maintain public health.


The mandate also applies to teachers and staff in K-12 public AND private schools. Once the mandate goes into effect, testing regularly will no longer be an option.

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