California officials confirmed Friday that children will not be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to attend schools.
Nearly all restrictions put in place by Gov. Gavin Newsom have been lifted and the state’s coronavirus emergency declaration officially ends on Feb. 28.
However, the policy – first put in place in 2021 – had come from the Department of Public Health was not impacted by the emergency declaration lifting.
The department told Fox News Digital in an emailed statement on Saturday morning that COVID-19 immunization is an important tool for keeping kids healthy and schools open and that it strongly recommends vaccination against the disease, noting that it had contributed to keeping children there in school.
“The state’s SMARTER Plan continues to provide an adequate framework to address the current COVID-19 situation, and has led to the decision to end the COVID-19 State of Emergency on February 28, 2023,” the department explained. “As such, CDPH is not currently exploring emergency rulemaking to add COVID-19 vaccinations to the list of required school vaccinations, but we continue to strongly recommend COVID-19 immunization for students and staff to keep everyone safer in the classroom. Any changes to required K-12 immunizations are properly addressed through the legislative process.”
It also noted that mobile vaccination services remain available for any K-12 school in California.
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California was the first state to issue a statewide stay-at-home order.
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Most states did not follow California’s lead when it came to instituting a vaccine mandate for public schools.
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However, schools in the District of Columbia plan to require the vaccine starting in the fall.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.