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Proposed Bill Would Add COVID-19 Vaccine To California's Required Immunizations For Students

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A new bill from State Sen. Richard Pan will add COVID-19 vaccines to inoculations students are required to get before they can attend public school in California.

Pan announced the bill at Arleta High School alongside school officials from Los Angeles and San Diego, and public health leaders. As the world enters the third year of the pandemic, Pan said parents and families have all experienced the disruption, anxiety, and trauma since the coronavirus crisis began in March of 2020.

"Confidence and certainty are things we all long for, and yet that certainty repeatedly seems out of reach, Pan said.

"As a pediatrician, parent, and legislator, I am committed to giving the public confidence and certainty that we are working to prevent or slowdown the next coronavirus surge."

Students in California are already required to get several immunizations to enroll in school, including for those against measles, mumps, polio, and tetanus. Back in 2015, Pan passed legislation to eliminate the personal belief exemption loophole following an outbreak of measles at Disneyland.

The bill announced by Pan will go a step further than the mandate announced last year by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the first announced in the nation to require COVID vaccination for all public and private schoolchildren. However, Newsom's executive order is dependent on the FDA giving full approval of the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. The Pfizer vaccine is currently approved under an emergency use authorization for children under 16, and parents can cite personal beliefs to opt out.

Pan's bill will eliminate that loophole, and protect school districts from legal challenges.

If the bill is signed into law this year, it would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

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