California Issues COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for All Students

Santiago Mejia/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, Pool, File

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, emboldened after he survived a recent recall election, has ordered all students aged five years and older in the Golden State must be vaccinated for COVID-19.

According to Newsom, “The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps, and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19. Today’s measure, just like our first-in-the-nation school masking and staff vaccination requirements, is about protecting our children and school staff, and keeping them in the classroom.”

Newsom also declared, “Vaccines work. It’s why California leads the country in preventing school closures and has the lowest case rates. We encourage other states to follow our lead to keep our kids safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

First, California does not lead the United States in preventing school closures. That statement is simply not true.

During the entire pandemic, 13 states enacted orders that in-person learning must be offered at public schools. Unsurprisingly, California was not one of those 13 states.

In fact, on March 13, 2020, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) ordered all 900 campuses to close, affecting more than 670,000 students. Shortly thereafter, many other California school districts followed LAUSD, closing for in-person learning for months.

As LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said, “There is evidence the virus is already present in the communities we serve, and our efforts now must be aimed at preventing its spread. We believe closing the state’s two largest school districts will make an important contribution to this effort.”

Second, extensive data show that children are not at severe risk for COVID-19. As of this writing, less than 700 of the 73 million American children have died from COVID-19. During the same span, more than 50,000 children have died from “other causes.”

Dr. Daniel Rauch, chief of pediatric hospital medicine at Tufts Children’s Hospital in Boston, notes that COVID-19 “is not a common problem for kids. … Think about it in terms of football stadiums. In 100,000 kids, one of them is not going to make it with COVID. Everyone else who walked in is going to walk out.”

Third, children are at increased risk for vaccine-caused adverse outcomes.

As of mid-June, more than 300 young Americans have suffered from heart inflammation after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Indeed, this past summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspended COVID-19 vaccines for adolescents because of reports of myocarditis or pericarditis.

Fourth, Newsom’s blanket vaccine mandate for children fails to consider natural immunity. As of October 14, more than 600,000 children in California have recovered from COVID-19.

Therefore, these children have natural antibodies and do not need to be vaccinated. After all, several studies show that natural immunity is more robust and longer-lasting than that offered by any of the three vaccines.

Yet, Newsom’s vaccine mandate makes no exceptions for the 600,000 young Californians who have natural immunity. In the same regard, there are no religious exemptions.

Despite Newsom’s insistence that his vaccine mandate for children is about protecting students and teachers, this is flat-out false. The science is clear: COVID-19 poses little risk to children, they rarely transmit the virus, and the vaccines potentially pose more of a threat to the young than the virus itself.

Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.