Health department proposal would mandate COVID vaccine for Louisiana students
BATON ROUGE - A proposal from the Louisiana Department of Health would mandate that children get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend schools and day cares pending the shot's further approval by federal regulators.
A notice of intent letter dated Sept. 20, 2021 details the health department's plan to add the shot to the current list of required immunizations for Louisiana school students. The rule would affect all elementary and secondary schools, kindergartens, colleges, universities, proprietary schools, vocation schools, and licensed day care centers.
Allison Wisdom has four children, and she's worried about having to decide between the shot or pulling them out of school.
"It's not their right to tell us what we need to do for our kids. We are the parents and we get to make our decisions for our own children," she said.
Other parents say they feel their kids are safer with a COVID-19 vaccine requirement in place.
"I think forcing anybody to do anything is an overreach. But if you have children who are going to be around other children, I would lean more toward doing it," said Ada Shavers.
Based on the proposal, the coronavirus vaccine would be mandated to the extent that the shot is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration. So far, the FDA has only granted full approval of the shot for those ages 16 and up.
In October, the Pfizer vaccine was authorized for emergency use in children as young as 5.
The letter says parents will still be able to exempt their child from being vaccinated for "religious, medical or philosophical" reasons.
According to the document, the window for a legislative hearing discussing the rule closed in late October. Regardless, lawmakers plan to meet Dec. 6 to vote on the proposal.
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