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California to consider vaccine mandate for school children 12 and older

Dr. Mark Ghaly announced that within California Health and Human Services' action plan, they're considering mandating the vaccine for students.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this March 2, 2021, file photo, science teacher Jennifer Becker, center, at the Sinaloa Middle School talks to her students who are distanced at their desks in Novato, Calif. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)

CALIFORNIA, USA — California's Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly spoke to reporters on Thursday morning to provide an update on the state's efforts to prepare for the administration of the COVID-19 booster shots..

Dr. Ghaly discussed the 'COVID-19 Action Plan' consisting of four issues the administration would like to tackle. Part of that plan includes taking into consideration if schools in California should mandate the vaccine for students of all ages, if they are eligible. Dr. Ghaly emphasized vaccinating the unvaccinated, partnering with health clinics and pharmacies and operating and implementing plans from the FDA on their approval of the booster shot.

"California is ready in our health system in many schools to vaccinate students of all ages when they do become eligible," Dr. Ghaly said. "Soon, we hope, well I hope as a father of three kids under the age of 12, and as a pediatrician, we can soon vaccinate many of our students and wrap a thicker blanket of protection around these school communities so kids can continue to learn in confidence."

Click here for the full Action Plan report. 

Dr. Ghaly noted that although this is not something new to the long conversation of vaccines in schools and their role in protecting students, the administration is constantly looking at the data. The administration is understanding where there are opportunities to ensure that California isn't vulnerable and to ensure that conversation is happening. 

At the moment, a definitive decision has been made.

While Dr. Ghaly discussed plans for the state, the the Oakland Board of Education voted to require students 12 and older to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend in-person school. The move late Wednesday makes Oakland Unified the first school district in Northern California to adopt a vaccine requirement.

Wednesday’s vote comes after Los Angeles Unified, the state’s largest school district, and the smaller Southern California district of Culver City imposed similar policies for their students earlier this month. Several other school boards in the San Francisco Bay Area are considering similar measures as schools try to navigate in-person instruction during the pandemic.

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