Requirement that children get COVID-19 vaccine being evaluated
A state advisory group is currently exploring whether to recommend requiring children be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter any school or licensed child care.
The advisory group underneath the state Board of Health was convened in October to look into the idea. The group is anticipated it will produce an advisory recommendation sometime this spring for the board.
The state Board of Health will have the final say.
One factor will be whether the FDA gives full approval of the vaccines for children, board vice chair Dr. Tom Pendergrass told the board. So far the FDA has given only emergency use authorization for vaccines for children age 5 and up.
The idea has also prompted more than 3,000 written comments.
State law currently requires children are vaccinated for 11 conditions: chickenpox, diphtheria; measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), polio, hepatitis B, tetanus, whooping cough, pneumococcal disease and haemophilus influenzae type B disease.
The state allows three exemptions to vaccination: Religious, medical or philosophical or personal objection. (Personal objections are not allowed for mumps, measles or rubella under state law.)
Not everything explored is taken up: In 2015, an advisory group looked into requiring all students have the meningitis vaccine but this was rejected, Pendergrass noted.
The state Board of Health has the legal authority over which vaccines are required to attend school.
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