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Schools may need vaccine mandates to keep in-person class, expert says

Should schools mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for their kids?

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The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is drawn into a syringe in Utah.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is drawn into a syringe at the South Davis Senior Activity Center in Bountiful on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

COVID-19 vaccine mandates for children might be necessary to keep in-person learning alive, according to Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

Do kids need vaccine mandates?

Hotez, who is a vaccinologist, told CNN that the mandates will be needed to keep classes in person.

  • “So far, we’ve not seen a lot of COVID vaccine mandates, even for the teenagers,” Hotez told CNN. “It’s gonna have to happen if we’re going to get kids through the school year.”

Have schools added COVID vaccine mandates?

We’ve seen this already. The Los Angeles Unified School District said last week that all children 12 and older need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 2022 in order to attend school in person, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Expert have been pushing for vaccine mandates for children. For example, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House medical adviser on the coronavirus, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that children — specifically those who are unvaccinated or can’t be vaccinated right now since there’s no vaccine approved for those under 12 years old — needed to be surrounded by other vaccinated people to stay safe.

  • “You surround them with those who can be vaccinated, whoever they are, teachers, personnel in the school, anyone, get them vaccinated. So, protect the kids with a shield of vaccinated people,” Fauci told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

When will COVID vaccines be around for kids under 12?

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday that she expects COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12 to be available by Halloween, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • “We want to move quickly, we anticipate moving quickly, but we also want to have the efficacy data and the safety data that the (Food and Drug Administration) will require ... to make sure that it is the right thing for kids,” she said.