NY bill would require COVID vaccine for kids to attend school
(TNS) – New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman wants to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for schoolchildren.
The New York Daily News reports the Manhattan lawmaker, a Democrat, introduced a bill Tuesday that would require kids get vaccinated in order to attend school after the shots receive full federal approval. The mandate, if passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul, would add coronavirus shots to the list of immunizations required for attending schools or daycare, including polio, mumps, measles and diphtheria.
“I think the best way to combat COVID is to ensure that there’s a highly vaccinated community and we can do that with a mandate for schoolchildren once federal authorities have signed off on it,” Hoylman told the Daily News.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for people 16 and older on Monday. Pfizer’s shot still has emergency use authorization for 12- to 15-year-olds, while none of the vaccines have yet been authorized in the U.S. for children under 12.
The mandate would take effect 30 days after full FDA approval of a COVID vaccine and if the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices adds them to its immunization schedule. According to the Daily News, the NYS Legislature is not expected back in session in Albany until January, so it’s possible that more federal action could occur before the bill even sees a vote.
In her first day as New York governor, Hochul said Tuesday that she will direct the state Department of Health to require universal masking in schools for anyone inside the buildings. A letter signed by nine pediatricians, infectious disease doctors and public health experts said masks can protect kids and teachers from the highly transmissible Delta variant that is leading to an increase in hospitalizations.
Hoylman said he believes getting everyone vaccinated is the best way to prevent more dangerous variants from developing and spreading.
“If everyone who’s eligible doesn’t get vaccinated we risk a killer variant that could have enormous impacts on populations that have so far escaped most of the ravages of coronavirus, namely children and young adults,” he told the Daily News.
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