Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / Polaris
A nurse gives a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shot to Gizelle Carrillo, 14, at Eagle Rock High School on Aug. 30, 2021.

All California students and school staff will be required to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as January 2022, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday.

The mandate, the nation’s first, applies to all students in kindergarten through 12th grade in public, charter and private schools, and all school employees. It goes into effect in the first semester, either Jan. 1 or July 1, following the Federal Drug Administration’s full approval of the Covid vaccine for each age group. Only the Pfizer vaccine is fully approved for people 16 and older. The Pfizer vaccine also has emergency authorization for use in children between the ages of 12-16.

“We’re mindful we still have work to do, and we are humbled by the challenge. But we want to end this pandemic. We are exhausted, and we want to put this disease behind us,” Newsom said at a middle school in San Francisco as he outlined the state’s plan.

The requirement follows vaccine mandates in several large California school districts for students 12 and over, including Los Angeles Unified, San Diego Unified and Oakland Unified. Newsom encouraged other districts to enact their own mandates ahead of the state’s plan, Newsom said.

Covid vaccines will be among the roster of 10 other vaccinations, such as polio, mumps and tetanus, that the state requires students to receive before starting school.

The requirement still leaves open the possibility for families to opt out. Because the mandate comes from the governor, and not the Legislature, it allows exemptions for medical, religious or personal reasons. Newsom said he’s confident most families will comply.

“The rules are not new; they are well established. In a way, this is the most predictable announcement that we’ve had in this pandemic,” Newsom said. “Every parent is already familiar with these requirements. This is just another vaccine.”

Students who opt out of the Covid vaccine will not be allowed to attend school in person, but they can enroll in independent study.

Teachers unions and public health advocates supported the governor’s move.

“(We) believe that vaccines are essential to ensuring that our students, school workers and communities are safe. We know that in-person instruction is best for our students, and that vaccines are the most important safeguard to prevent serious illness from COVID-19 infection,” said Jeff Freitas, president of the California Federation of Teachers.

He noted that 89% of the union’s members are already vaccinated against Covid.

The Public Health Institute, an independent nonprofit that promotes global health initiatives, praised the mandate but said it didn’t go far enough. Districts shouldn’t wait for full FDA approval, said the organization’s chief executive officer, Mary Pittman.

“California is leading the country in making bold, brave and science-based recommendations that prioritize health and recovery, but we need to act more quickly to protect our students and their families,” Pittman said. “Vaccines are safe, free and the best way to end this pandemic. (Schools) should …  immediately implement vaccine mandates under the current FDA emergency use authorization.”

Debra Duardo, superintendent of schools for Los Angeles County, said the mandate is an important step to keep schools safe for students and staff. To ensure a smooth rollout, she plans to convene a task force of the county’s superintendents to oversee the implementation of the mandate and work with families and health officials.

“We are mindful that there is still work to do to build trust and confidence in the vaccine among our school communities,” she said. “(But students) deserve every opportunity to remain in the classroom learning with their peers, and this is made possible when we move forward and implement those protocols that will allow our schools to remain the safest places for our students, staff, and families.”

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  1. Jennifer Berdan 8 months ago8 months ago

    I am speechless, but I am trying to find words to speak out because I fear for my 13-year-old son. The virus has mutated extensively since 2020, and the fact that vaccinated individuals are still getting covid and able to pass it to others should be evidence enough to prove that the vaccine will not prevent spread of disease. The other vaccines that our children already receive are to protect against getting the … Read More

    I am speechless, but I am trying to find words to speak out because I fear for my 13-year-old son.

    The virus has mutated extensively since 2020, and the fact that vaccinated individuals are still getting covid and able to pass it to others should be evidence enough to prove that the vaccine will not prevent spread of disease. The other vaccines that our children already receive are to protect against getting the disease and thereby prevent spreading to keep people safe.

    It should be a choice as to whether someone would like to take a Covid vaccine in order to lessen their chances of severe illness, which they can consider their own health risks and choose.

    With the virus mutating this extensively, Covid shots would be required more often like the flu shot. The flu shot is not required for children to go to school.

    A much better mandate would be to require all students to take Nutrition and Health courses every year to learn the importance of nutritional food, exercise, and mental health so they can learn to keep their body at its best in order to prevent disease.

  2. Elena Velazquez 9 months ago9 months ago

    I'm a 8th grade student gathering information about whether the law of governor Newsom is a good idea. At first I always told myself it is good and I agree that all children have to get the vaccine. But then I saw the comments to this article. And suddenly I've changed my mind, after reading the comments of upset parents and not wanting to be forced to put something in their children's bodies. It's not … Read More

    I’m a 8th grade student gathering information about whether the law of governor Newsom is a good idea. At first I always told myself it is good and I agree that all children have to get the vaccine.

    But then I saw the comments to this article. And suddenly I’ve changed my mind, after reading the comments of upset parents and not wanting to be forced to put something in their children’s bodies. It’s not fair that the government is able to tell us what to do with our bodies.

    I believe that children shouldn’t be missing classes because they don’t have a vaccine. Just like how I agree that women have the right to go through with their pregnancy. I have mixed feelings about this now. (Great, now what do I say for my project …)

  3. Nicole Amaral 9 months ago9 months ago

    My 8 year old son just got Omicron. He had less than an allergy. He got it from me and I was fully vaxxed. There is no way in hell he is going to get the Covid shots. No reason for him to get them! We will file a personal exemption at his Catholic School.

  4. Terrie 10 months ago10 months ago

    This is ridiculous. The number of people getting Covid are not as they were last year. The hospitals are not overcrowded. Power has gone overboard. All I can do is shake my head and fear for the future of this country.

  5. Timothy Mackey MD 10 months ago10 months ago

    Is the governor and other officials aware of the recent Swedish study which showed full length spike protein enters the nucleus and impairs DNA repair enzymes BRCA1 and 53BP1 both very important in developing adaptive immunity in T cells and B cells. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13102056
    I suggest his medical advisers read this paper and its implications.

  6. Chrissy 11 months ago11 months ago

    I’m sorry but I will be pulling my kid from school along with 1000 other parents , can’t force kids to get the jab , so many meds that were studied have been pulled from the market . I don’t trust this vaccine at all .

  7. Kathleen 11 months ago11 months ago

    Leave our young children alone. It is a parents’ right on what they want put into their children not the government. Covid is nothing like polio or others we vaccinate our children for school for. Those vaccines were tested for years before approval. Our children are not your guinea pigs.

    Replies

    • Gabriela 11 months ago11 months ago

      Our children can’t speak up for themselves, we must. Leave our children alone, like Kathleen said. It is the parent’s right to decide what goes into their body not the governments or the people willing to give up their right to choose. It’s not about the vaccine, it’s about choice!!!

  8. Jeanne ONeill 11 months ago11 months ago

    I cannot agree with vax mandates for kids 5-11 until there is pre-vax scientific studies for safety to the kids. You do not wait until after using humans as guinea pigs to collect scientific data. There are no studies to support the safety to kids yet it is based on a probable – not good enough.

  9. Derd 11 months ago11 months ago

    I wish people would stop comparing the polio and mumps vaccine to Covid vaccine. Once you get polio vaccine, you can’t get polio. However, even with the Covid vaccine you can still get it. They are not comparable. IF you believe in the Covid vaccine so strongly…why are you so upset about the unvaccinated?

  10. Lynn 11 months ago11 months ago

    I see Zantac and blood pressure meds that were approved are now causing cancer. Can we wait 5-10 years to see the long term effects before mandating?
    Oh wait! No money in actually making the communities health a priority, so why do that?

  11. Resident 11 months ago11 months ago

    Sir, I believe you’re failing to realize is by just saying “it’s just another vaccine” doesn’t make easy. Our concerns as parents are the safety and well health without possible life changing difficulties to our children. Our children.

  12. Tracy Gilcrist 11 months ago11 months ago

    As a high school teacher, who is fully vaccinated and has had my booster shot, I feel like I am in a Covid cesspool every day. Why do I and other essential workers have to take the chance of being exposed to Covid because others do not want to get vaccinated? When the polo vaccine was available, people lined up to get vaccinated. They did not wait years to find out what the long-term effects … Read More

    As a high school teacher, who is fully vaccinated and has had my booster shot, I feel like I am in a Covid cesspool every day. Why do I and other essential workers have to take the chance of being exposed to Covid because others do not want to get vaccinated?

    When the polo vaccine was available, people lined up to get vaccinated. They did not wait years to find out what the long-term effects would be. Too many adults in our country have no idea what it is like to live with a devastating, deadly disease that can be prevented, or at least slowed down with a vaccine. If Covid continues to mutate we will be back at square one. This is not about freedom of choice, but public health and safety. I do not see how anyone can compare getting a Covid vaccine to getting an abortion. If I do, or do not get an abortion, it does not affect the heath of others.

    Replies

    • Breelyn Sirk 11 months ago11 months ago

      You do realize that a batch of polio vaccines ended up killing 10 children and paralyzed hundreds more? Do you also realize that you are comparing a respiratory illness to a disease that literally paralyzes children? I get that this Covid crisis has you in a state of clutching your pearls because how dare someone possibly endanger your health, but don’t think that Covid is in any way comparable to the horror of polio.

    • Elizabeth 11 months ago11 months ago

      We are very thankful for our teachers and all school staff. I don’t quite understand your post. Why did you get vaccinated? If it was to prevent getting Covid and it supposedly works, why are you worried about getting Covid? If it doesn’t work, then why would parents want to jab an experimental substance, that has had very very little studies done compared to other actual vaccines, into our children? They have absolutely no … Read More

      We are very thankful for our teachers and all school staff. I don’t quite understand your post. Why did you get vaccinated? If it was to prevent getting Covid and it supposedly works, why are you worried about getting Covid? If it doesn’t work, then why would parents want to jab an experimental substance, that has had very very little studies done compared to other actual vaccines, into our children? They have absolutely no idea what these shots or inoculations, whichever one considers them to be, may cause over the next few years.

    • Jon 11 months ago11 months ago

      Polio is not the same thing as Covid. I love teachers, I really do... but some of the most uneducated people around are teachers. You say to follow the science... but what science? Only the science that supports your claims? Do you realize that you are exposed (daily) to diseases like Hepatitis, Influenza (notice how they don't call it the flu vaccine... but the flu shot?), TB (yes, its out there), and more??? But you … Read More

      Polio is not the same thing as Covid.

      I love teachers, I really do… but some of the most uneducated people around are teachers. You say to follow the science… but what science? Only the science that supports your claims? Do you realize that you are exposed (daily) to diseases like Hepatitis, Influenza (notice how they don’t call it the flu vaccine… but the flu shot?), TB (yes, its out there), and more??? But you don’t even think twice about those, why?

      Why should the children you teach be exposed to whatever bugs you are carrying? You act like adults can’t be carriers, or only get sick if they are exposed to a sick child. You know this is not true.

      Here’s the definition of a vaccine: “a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease.”

      This “vaccine” does not provide “immunity,” as the science has repeatedly shown, over and over and over again. The polio vaccine provides immunity from Polio, i.e. you can’t get Polio….

      By the way, your whole argument about abortions is factually, no, scientifically false. If you get an abortion, it affects the health of your unborn child… it kills them.

  13. Michael Holter 11 months ago11 months ago

    Nothing will prevent the spread. Figure it out. We’ve all been exposed. That’s why they frown on testing for antibodies. You have them.

  14. Tiffany 11 months ago11 months ago

    HOMESCHOOL HERE WE COME!

  15. Gina Carlson 11 months ago11 months ago

    What about students who due to health reasons can’t get this vaccine? What are they to do? You are forgetting that there are some people out there who can not get this vaccine.

  16. Laura 11 months ago11 months ago

    Has anyone actually read said mandate? Where can it be found?

  17. Jennifer 12 months ago12 months ago

    All I want to know is the logic behind this: Women have the right to “choose” because it is their body. They can eliminate, murder, kill the unborn without permission from anyone! With that logic in mind, why am I being forced by the state of California to be vaccinated against my will? Freedom of choice? Not!

  18. Alexandra b Huey 12 months ago12 months ago

    We will be homeschooling if the vaccine is mandated!

    Replies

    • anon 11 months ago11 months ago

      My kid is eager to do home schooling again. She enjoyed it last year, and next year will be no different if this stupid ‘vaccine’ (not vaccine) is pushed on all the kids.

      The people we elected in office are all confused between leadership and being servants first. They want to ‘lead’ but not serve. Let that sink in.

  19. Bob 12 months ago12 months ago

    President Biden is only recommending states to implement the Covid vaccine. Your article implies it is a national mandate (first ever), not true. Additionally states already “mandate” 5 or more vaccines for kids starting school. Why the protest with one more?

  20. Britta Lundberg 12 months ago12 months ago

    I will not allow my five and eight year old to get this vaccine! Way too early, not enough trial. I would rather move to a different country before I ever allow my children to get that!

    Replies

    • Emily 12 months ago12 months ago

      Good luck with that. Most industrialized countries in the world are vaccinating everyone as soon as they possibly can. Portugal is 98% vaccinated. Europe, Asia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand all vaccinating and wearing masks. The politicizing of vaccines is an American illness.

  21. kavin 12 months ago12 months ago

    We do following safety protocol during pandemic. Also plan to do so till we have covid. My job as a parent is to send healthy kids to school. Schools can do testing on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. What if a kid is not ready to take a jab or parents don't give their consent? It can happen to many families. I am not going into science debut here because it will be a … Read More

    We do following safety protocol during pandemic. Also plan to do so till we have covid. My job as a parent is to send healthy kids to school. Schools can do testing on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

    What if a kid is not ready to take a jab or parents don’t give their consent? It can happen to many families. I am not going into science debut here because it will be a different topic.

    I will not vaccinate my kids. Guess what, I will move my entire family to TX after 20 years of peacefully staying in CA. You believe in science doesn’t mean someone can force me or my child to take something against my wish. Also, when on earth the government starts caring about my well being. You’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise. Always try to find a solution instead of complaining. So I move to a place where we have choice.

  22. simon wilson 12 months ago12 months ago

    89% of teachers / staff is not something to crow about!!!
    11% unvaccinated , mandate here fist. No jab, time for a new job

  23. JudiAU 12 months ago12 months ago

    This is a fairly weak mandate with many delays and loopholes. I wish something stronger was proposed. Hopefully it will become tighter with legislation. My youngest is so excited to be vaccinated and be done with Covid. Vaccination is basic science.

  24. Saagar Patel 12 months ago12 months ago

    Leave our kids alone!!!! Why should any one take a vaccine for an illness that hardly affects the kids?

    Do we still live in a country which is the land of the free and the home of the brave?

    I will choose to do Homeschooling if this comes into effect.

    Replies

    • Emily 12 months ago12 months ago

      Your kids also have to be vaccinated against Polio and Mumps to attend school. They are far more likely to catch COVID. Millions of kids have been infected and a large percentage of those are experiencing long Covid symptoms. Vaccinating is the best way to protect them.

      • Kristy 12 months ago12 months ago

        Emily , I am glad you are confident in the trial Covid Vaccination, I however am not. When a properly vetted Vaccine ( such as MMR, Polio ) is available, I will consider it. Please allow me the right to raise my children as I see best. I have already lost one to cancer. Respectfully, Kristy, fellow passionate mom.

  25. Jay 12 months ago12 months ago

    It’s time for the emergency orders to end and for true legislation to pass with checks and balances. The recall was inappropriate and so are the governor mandates without input from the legislative majority and minority parties. A democracy can only survive when the people are well represented while also making the effort to protect minority views. Vaccines have minimized the severity of the virus, but have not stopped the spread as vaccinated people are still … Read More

    It’s time for the emergency orders to end and for true legislation to pass with checks and balances. The recall was inappropriate and so are the governor mandates without input from the legislative majority and minority parties. A democracy can only survive when the people are well represented while also making the effort to protect minority views.

    Vaccines have minimized the severity of the virus, but have not stopped the spread as vaccinated people are still carrying and passing the disease; just like the unvaccinated. Test everyone to see if the spread has slowed.

    It’s time for every adult to speak at local school boards to make sure their opinions are heard. The science has not spoken on the long-term effects only on the effects of one year with proof the effectiveness diminishes. The Supreme Court only ruled in 1905 to enforce a five dollar fine; not irreparable harm of removing children from schools and firing people from their careers.

  26. Megan Schmidt 12 months ago12 months ago

    They need to allow testing in liu of… my child is NOT GETTING THE SHOT!!

  27. Tanya S Bray 12 months ago12 months ago

    Vaccination is the only way out of this. I am a school nurse and have been active in discussing this with our families. Good for California. I have been waiting for this.

  28. Lynn Bocca 12 months ago12 months ago

    I am a teacher. We are ridiculously short staffed this year. Students have no consistency with teachers, no bussing etc. Losing even more staff will DIRECTLY affect their education.
    Oh wait! I’m sure HIS children will get their education. Just creating more segregation between the haves and the have not.

    Replies

    • Diana 12 months ago12 months ago

      I feel bad for the people who genuinely think vaccinations will stop the spread. Please do your research and understand that it lowers your risk of hospitalization, you can still get Covid (in fact 50% of my friends and family who were 2 weeks past their vaccination got covid). I have already had covid and the vaccine's effectiveness wears off according to all the latest research and data collected. I will not … Read More

      I feel bad for the people who genuinely think vaccinations will stop the spread. Please do your research and understand that it lowers your risk of hospitalization, you can still get Covid (in fact 50% of my friends and family who were 2 weeks past their vaccination got covid). I have already had covid and the vaccine’s effectiveness wears off according to all the latest research and data collected. I will not be a test dummy so am no longer allowed to work in schools. We have a nation wide teaching shortage, there are plenty of states that still allow medical freedoms. Funny how my body my choice only applies to one thing, and the same people that support that are awfully quiet now.

      Parents will be pulling their kids for homeschool and those that are left will be with less qualified teachers and burnt out teachers who are stuck filling in the gaps that they shouldn’t have to.

      Why can’t these parents and teachers and the government compromise? Rapid testing at the door to get into school. That would actually stop the spread. Again for those in the back, vaccinated children and adults can still get covid and spread it. We have not been testing them. Same for the poor healthcare workers going on strike look up the Kaiser strike about to happen. All because nobody cared enough to come up with a fair and safe solution. Rapid testing on the way in to all of these work places would prevent the spread and prevent people from worrying. Seems like a simple solution.

  29. Kristie Sepulveda- Burchit 12 months ago12 months ago

    “Students who opt out of the Covid vaccine will not be allowed to attend school in person, but they can enroll in independent study.“ Can you fill us in on your source for this statement as the Governor did not say this during his press conference. He never said those who submit an exemption are excluded from in person school. Or did you mean just opt out as in submit no exemption just choose not … Read More

    “Students who opt out of the Covid vaccine will not be allowed to attend school in person, but they can enroll in independent study.“ Can you fill us in on your source for this statement as the Governor did not say this during his press conference. He never said those who submit an exemption are excluded from in person school. Or did you mean just opt out as in submit no exemption just choose not to get the covid vaccine? Please clarify. Thank you.

    Replies

  30. Alice Philips 12 months ago12 months ago

    School Counselor here in Oakland. Thank you Governor Newsom for your leadership.

    Replies

    • Jay 12 months ago12 months ago

      A true leader would set the example, which Governor Newsom has not done. Remember, Governor Newsom creates rules for others to follow and his children do not attend a public school. Have his children been vaccinated during one of the trials? If not, then he should not require other parents to do so before his family.

    • Mako 12 months ago12 months ago

      “Leadership” lol he created millions in unemployment, can’t control the homeless population, and is taking bribes from unions to not enforce the mandate to prison guards, but okay “great leadership” when he was found violating his own Covid ordinances.

  31. Tammi 12 months ago12 months ago

    It's the only way to stop the spread! I've worked in the Oceanside Unified School District for 20 years and there is a long list of required vaccinations required for enrollment to a California school. Why not require a COVID vaccination? This virus has changed the way we live for almost two years, not to mention all of the deaths. How did we stop polio, measles, etc? Our children got … Read More

    It’s the only way to stop the spread! I’ve worked in the Oceanside Unified School District for 20 years and there is a long list of required vaccinations required for enrollment to a California school. Why not require a COVID vaccination? This virus has changed the way we live for almost two years, not to mention all of the deaths. How did we stop polio, measles, etc? Our children got vaccinated.
    We got vaccinated. It’s science people, you need to stop creating drama about conspiracies and being manipulated. This is bigger than you. What you do affects other people, so stop and consider that for a change.

    Replies

    • Yolanda Gaytan 12 months ago12 months ago

      No conspiracy here, parents still have right concerning their children, just as you had. All previous vaccines were tested for a good many years as a precaution, this vaccine is being pushed on everyone including those who do not want it. You would think with your 20 years in the teaching field, you would care for the safety of the very young who are the innocent ones in this mess. We need … Read More

      No conspiracy here, parents still have right concerning their children, just as you had. All previous vaccines were tested for a good many years as a precaution, this vaccine is being pushed on everyone including those who do not want it.
      You would think with your 20 years in the teaching field, you would care for the safety of the very young who are the innocent ones in this mess.
      We need to take a stand for our children even if it means home schooling!

  32. Sean Roberts 12 months ago12 months ago

    Good luck CA Education! Homeschool never sounded SO GOOD. Wonder how many schools will shut down, teachers/janitorial staff/admin/and logistical members will lose jobs, and be forced into unemployment with NO health insurance. No students in the seats equals no need for staff. So according to “Govt” the solution is increased unemployment and decreased healthcare during a pandemic…absolute proof anything Govt touches turns to waste! Whatever happened to “freedom” of choice? … Read More

    Good luck CA Education! Homeschool never sounded SO GOOD. Wonder how many schools will shut down, teachers/janitorial staff/admin/and logistical members will lose jobs, and be forced into unemployment with NO health insurance. No students in the seats equals no need for staff. So according to “Govt” the solution is increased unemployment and decreased healthcare during a pandemic…absolute proof anything Govt touches turns to waste! Whatever happened to “freedom” of choice? Give people the OPTION and there are NO issues. But that would require the Govt to give up their theoretical power haha. Such a joke, and my kids will be homeschooled if this sticks. CA is turning into a wasteland.

  33. James Brooks 12 months ago12 months ago

    Does anybody think this is necessary? Are you wishing you had voted yes on the recall yet? This is government overreach. My kids already had covid, it was mild, now they have antibodies. We will not be vaccinating our kids. Time to take a stand.