California officials are considering COVID-19 vaccine mandates for eligible children aged 12 and older in order to return to school, state Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said on Thursday.
Ghaly made the remark during a press conference in response to a question about a potential mandate for children, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The state has already issued mandates for health care workers, but Ghaly said no decision has been made yet for students.
“That conversation is part of what we’re considering as a state, but no definitive action is being made at the moment,” he told reporters. “It’s been a long conversation about vaccines in schools and their role in protecting students. We of course are always looking at the data, understanding where there are opportunities to ensure California’s vulnerable — those who can be protected — are protected through vaccinations.”
The decision to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for kids aged 12 and older could heavily depend on how select California counties fare with their individual vaccine mandates.
Earlier this month, Los Angeles County voted to approve a resolution that requires vaccinations for children attending public schools. On Wednesday, the Oakland Unified School District in Northern California voted to require vaccinations for students returning to classrooms.
The Food and Drug Administration has authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on children between the ages of 12 and 15. Both Pfizer and Moderna have recently submitted data or are undergoing clinical trials to show their vaccinations are safe for children under the age of 12.