California will mandate COVID vaccines for students and staff beginning next school term, becoming the first state in the nation to require schoolchildren to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Governor Gavin Newsom made the announcement Friday morning at Denman Middle School in San Francisco’s Balboa Park neighborhood. The COVID vaccine will be added to the list of required vaccines for students to attend in-person school.
At the briefing, Newsom noted positive trends in the state when it comes to beating back the pandemic, noting the state has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country. “California has the lowest case rate in the United States of America. We’ve maintained that status now for some time,” Newsom said.
“Not surprisingly, that’s been driven primarily by one of the nation’s leading vaccination efforts.” According to Newsom, California has administered over 50 million doses of vaccine, with 84% of eligible Californians receiving at least one dose.
Newsom also criticized the school reopening efforts of states that have banned mask mandates in schools such as Florida and Texas, noting that their COVID-19 positivity rates are higher and that schools have closed due to outbreaks.
“What you have seen across the country is that leaders assert the need and desire for the social and emotional benefits of in-person instruction, yet they’re not following the science,” the governor said. READ MORE