Pennsylvania GOP Senate votes to bar school children from COVID-19 requirement
The GOP-controlled Pennsylvania state Senate approved legislation to would prevent a COVID-19 vaccine requirement in order for children to attend school, though no such mandate is in effect, The Associated Press reported.
The bill was passed on a 28-21 vote within party lines. It will next go to Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives.
But the AP notes it will likely face a veto by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) who said he opposes the bill and does not have plans to implement such a mandate.
“The administration has no plans to mandate vaccines for K-12 schools so this is nothing more than a waste of time and taxpayer money, and is a distraction from the real issues Pennsylvanians are facing that Republicans should be addressing,” Wolf’s office said in a statement.
One of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Michele Brooks (R) argued that other vaccines required by schools weren’t approved under the FDA’s “emergency use authorization,” in which COVID-19 vaccines are.
State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) highlighted the death toll of school-aged children from the virus being 14 out of an estimated 1.7 million, comparing COVID-19 to seasonal flu, bird flu, and swine flu.
Neither the state nor the school district in Pennsylvania requires a COVID-19 vaccination to attend school, AP noted.
The only vaccine available to school-aged children is the Pfizer shot. Booster shots of the vaccine for Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recently became available for all adults in the U.S. just before the Thanksgiving holiday.
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