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Fauci calls school COVID-19 vaccine mandates a 'good idea'

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·3 min read
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Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that he backs the idea of coronavirus vaccine mandates for eligible children to attend schools, noting that such mandates already exist for other infectious diseases. Only children over the age of 12 are currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, said he expects the FDA and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to establish "the safety and the strong benefit-risk ratio for the children."

“When that gets established, which I believe it certainly will, ... I believe that mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea," Fauci said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"We have mandates in many places, in schools, particularly public schools, that if in fact, you want a child to come in — we've done this for decades and decades — requiring polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis [vaccines.] So this would not be something new, requiring vaccinations for children to come to school," he continued.

Fauci was responding to a question about a public school district in Culver City, Calif., mandating vaccines not only for staff but also the students. NPR reported that the Los Angeles County school district is believed to be the first in the country to take such a move. Students must provide proof of vaccination by Nov. 19.

According to county public health data, almost 88 percent of Culver City's total eligible population is vaccinated with at least one dose, as is over 84 percent of the children aged 12 to 17. Both of these numbers are among the highest in the county.

Students wear face coverings
Students arrive for the first day of in-class learning since the start of the pandemic at Garden Place Elementary School in north Denver. All students, visitors and staff are now required to wear face coverings while in Denver Public Schools regardless of vaccination status. (David Zalubowski/AP)

School districts have emerged as a flashpoint in the public policy battle to rein in the coronavirus as its Delta variant runs rampant through parts of the country. On Friday, a judge blocked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis's ban on schools issuing mask mandates, though the governor’s office plans to appeal.

California has already ordered all K-12 school employees to be vaccinated or take weekly coronavirus tests, with some school districts taking the requirement a step further and not allowing staff members to opt out of the vaccines and take tests. The state also has a number of existing school vaccine requirements, the Los Angeles Times reported, including polio, tetanus, measles, diphtheria and pertussis.


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