U.S. Surgeon General endorses local COVID vaccine mandates for school children, says there won't be a federal mandate

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U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Thursday afternoon that while he supports local school districts instituting COVID-19 vaccine mandates for school children, ” It's not a requirement the federal government is going to put in place.”

Dr. Murthy made the comments during an interview with KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh. Murthy noted that while the FDA has recommended emergency approval for children, the CDC still needs to issue their decision on emergency approval for the vaccine to children as young as 5. Dr. Murthy insisted that if both agencies issue final approval, as many as 28 million children should be vaccinated, and stated that he planned to vaccinate his own kids.

“Well, I want to make sure that the FDA and CDC weigh in, but if they do end up authorizing and recommending a vaccine, then I will get my child vaccinated. I have one child who is 5 and another who is 3 1/2. My younger daughter is not eligible yet in this next wave. My hope is that there will be a vaccine soon for her. My 5-year-old, yes. We will be taking him to be vaccinated if the FDA and CDC recommend it,” Dr. Murthy said.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy Expects Authorization To Vaccinate Young Children Soon, But Won't Predict End Of Pandemic

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy Expects Authorization To Vaccinate Young Children Soon, But Won't Predict End Of Pandemic

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The surgeon general says a final sign-off is expected shortly on a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

When asked whether school systems should institute a vaccine mandate, Murthy was generally supportive, calling it “a very reasonable conversation to have,” and noting, “When school systems and localities think about mandating vaccines, they're primarily trying to figure out – how do we create a safe place in school? How do we make sure our kids are well and don't end up transmitting consequential illnesses to each other in school?”

When asked whether there was any reason that should give parents pause about having their children vaccinated, Dr. Murthy said that children should not be vaccinated if they have a documented history of allergy to vaccines, and that parents should consult their pediatricians. Dr. Murthy did not offer any assurance as to how often both adults and children will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, saying, “In terms of whether or not people will need a regular shot, vaccine over time like the flu vaccine given once a year, or whether this will be a three-shot vaccine that will last for many years like the hepatitis B vaccine where you get three shots and are good for a long time, that only time will tell.”

Death and hospitalization rates for children remain very low from COVID-19, including the Delta variant.

Many will consider Dr. Murthy's promise that there will not be a federal vaccine mandate for children to be cold comfort; after all, then-President Elect Biden promised in December of 2020 that he would not institute a federal vaccine mandate, only to institute a number of federal vaccine mandates during the course of 2021.

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