Newsom Quietly Backs Off COVID Vaccine Mandate for Schools

Sacramento, CA—Governor Newsom reportedly is quietly backing away from a prior plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for school children according to reports in several sources, including the Los Angeles Times and CalMatters. Newsom had announced back in October of 2021 that California would be the first state in the nation to mandate COVID-19 vaccines and that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) would use long-standing regulatory authority to mandate them.

The Department, however, never put forth any regulations on point. Even if the Department had moved forward with the plan, the “mandate” for COVID-19 vaccinations would have been subject to a personal belief exemption because the long-standing laws allowing the Department to order vaccinations via regulations include the exemption provision.

Relatedly, legislation to add COVID-19 (SB 871, Pan, D-Sacramento) vaccination to the list of existing mandated vaccines (those without a personal belief exemption) stalled last year, ironically “because of the limitations placed on committee hearings due to ongoing health and safety risks of the COVID-19 virus.”

Meanwhile, the official California state of emergency related to COVID-19 expires at the end of this month while the federal analog will expire on May 11. The latest CDPH data indicates that California continues to experience over 2,400 new cases of COVID-19 infection and 34 deaths each day...

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