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Local parents react to state's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for schoolchildren

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Posted at 6:47 PM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-02 00:47:27-04

Governor Gavin Newsom announced a mandate requiring schoolchildren who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to receive the shot in order to attend in-person instruction.

"This is a significant announcement but it's probably the most predictable announcement,” Newsom said Friday at a press conference.

It was an announcement that shocked many parents and residents across the state.

"I would definitely not let her get it,” said one Santa Maria parent.

According to Newsom, the mandate requiring all eligible public and private school children in California to be vaccinated against COVID-19 would take effect after the FDA's full approval of the vaccine for children ages 12 and older.

This means all children who are eligible for the vaccine and enrolled in in-person instruction would be required to get the shot.

"I believe it's up to the parent. I don't think it a good idea for someone else to choose what your child needs,” said parent Joseph Janson.

Although there is still no exact date as to when the FDA will fully approve the vaccine for that age group, the mandate could take effect for students 12 and older as early as January of next year.

Once in effect, unvaccinated students may not be allowed to attend classes in person.

"We require for measles and so many other diseases we require vaccinations and yet there is something about this disease that's become so polarized,” said Newsom.

Some worry they will have to pull their children out of school and enroll them in an online school or home school.

"I do recognize safety measures, I am personally vaccinated, I think it’s a good thing but there's a lot of concerns,” Lawrence Colbert said.

According to state officials, it will be up to schools and school districts to enforce the mandate. Local school districts say it's too soon to know how they will implement the requirement.

As of right now, the government has given final approval for the vaccine for anyone 16 and older.