Because the FDA has not yet fully approved COVID-19 vaccines for individuals of all ages within the 7–12 grade span, California will not initiate the regulatory process for a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the 2022-2023 school year and as such, any vaccine requirements would not take effect until after full FDA approval and no sooner than July 1, 2023.
The State of California announced last October that full approval by the FDA was a precondition to initiating the rulemaking process to add the COVID-19 vaccine to other vaccinations required for in-person school attendance—such as measles, mumps, and rubella—pursuant to California’s Health and Safety Code.
Vaccines are the most powerful weapon against hospitalization and serious illness due to COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health said in a press release. California’s response to conditions in schools has adapted to the dynamic challenges of the pandemic, based on science. As outlined in Governor Newsom’s SMARTER Plan, the State has maintained vaccine supply, operational readiness, and access to education and resources about COVID-19 and vaccines with focused engagement to ensure younger Californians are taking opportunities to get vaccinated.
“CDPH strongly encourages all eligible Californians, including children, to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” said California Department of Public Health Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón. “We continue to ensure that our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is driven by the best science and data available. Under the Governor’s SMARTER plan, California is making informed decisions on how to further protect students and staff, to keep children safely in classrooms.”
Upon full approval by the FDA, CDPH will consider the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians prior to implementing a school vaccine requirement.
CDPH continues to emphasize and conduct outreach regarding the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine; support youth vaccination campaigns and school-located vaccination programs; and strongly encourage all eligible Californians, including eligible children, to get vaccinated.