IRVINE (CBSLA) — Worried parents once again took their vaccine fears to the Orange County Board of Education Wednesday.
"We've got to protect these kids," one woman said. "There's no longterm studies. We don't know what's going to happen."
The parents were concerned that their children would be vaccinated against COVID-19 without parental consent, something the Orange County Health Care Agency has repeatedly assured residents would not happen.
But, after hundreds of parents spoke out at the last two board meetings, the board decided to take a bold step — voting four to one in support of a statement denouncing any effort to curtail parents' authority.
"The Board stands side-by-side with Orange County residents against mandatory vaccinations, particularly of school-age children," the board said in a statement. "Schools are for inculcating facts and knowledge, and not advancing vaccination mandates for children who are at very little risk of the COVID-19 pathogen."
But Dr. Andrew Noymer called the board's statement redundant and said that it was not a policy document, but rather a statement of principles.
"Kids can't get vaccinated without their parents' consent," he said. "That will not change, even once the vaccines are authorized for minors, for adolescents."
A spokesperson for the OC Department of Education said he hoped the board's vote would ease parents' concerns about vaccinations.
"Legally they cannot be required," spokesperson Ian Hanigan said. "So, right now we are, in addition to trying to help fight a pandemic and the impacts of that, we're also fighting a lot of misinformation."
Parents said they understood that the board did not determine policy, but said they were happy to have some assurance in writing.
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