CDPH Delays COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for Schools

Late Thursday, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statement announcing a delay in the timeline for adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations required to attend school in California. The move comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet fully approved COVID-19 vaccines for individuals of all ages within the 7-12 grade span.

Recall, California announced last October that full approval by the FDA was a precondition to initiating the rulemaking process to add the COVID-19 vaccine to other vaccinations required for in-person school attendance, such as measles, mumps, and rubella, pursuant to the California Health and Safety Code. As such, and to ensure sufficient time for successful implementation of new vaccine requirements, California will not be initiating the regulatory process for a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the 2022-23 school year. Any COVID-19 vaccine requirements would not take effect until after full FDA approval and no sooner than July 1, 2023.

CDPH’s announcement came just hours after a statement from Senator Richard Pan indicating he will be holding a legislative measure to require COVID-19 vaccination for in-person school attendance. CDPH notes that vaccines remain the most powerful weapon against hospitalization and serious illness due to COVID-19 and strongly encourages all eligible residents to receive their vaccine.

Upon full approval of the vaccine by the FDA for young children, CDPH will consider recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians prior to implementing a school vaccine requirement.

Additional information is available here.