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Needham Schools Will 'Absolutely Require' COVID Vaccinations, Once FDA Fully Approves Them

NEEDHAM (CBS) – Needham will "absolutely require" students and staff at schools in town to be vaccinated once COVID vaccines are fully authorized by the FDA.

All coronavirus vaccines in the U.S. that are currently being administered are only approved for emergency use.

But once that changes and the FDA grants full approval, and the state provides additional guidance, Needham Superintendent of Schools Dan Gutekanst said he'll make vaccines mandatory to attend school.

"We will absolutely require the vaccine (with only a few and specific exceptions) in order to keep our schools fully open and our students and staff safe," he wrote in an email to WBZ-TV Wednesday. "In this way we will be consistent with other compulsory vaccine protocols (e.g., measles) we implement."

Gutekanst said because the vaccines are under emergency use authorization right now, "it is unclear to me as a public school official if I can mandate a vaccine for a student or staff member."

Needham is holding vaccine clinics for kids 12 and older this Saturday and again on May 22.

The FDA has approved emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for people as young as 12 years old. Pfizer is in the process of seeking full approval from the FDA for those 16 and older.

Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters Wednesday he has no plans on mandating vaccinations in Massachusetts schools and his administration is only focusing on getting people who are eligible vaccinated.

Most colleges in Massachusetts are requiring students to be fully vaccinated for the fall semester.

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