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first in the nation

California to require students get vaccinated against COVID-19 after full FDA approval

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has announced plans to require eligible students get vaccinated against COVID-19, making his state the first in the U.S. to unveil such a mandate.

Newsom said Friday that eligible students who are participating in in-person instruction will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after the Food and Drug Administration gives full approval to the vaccine for their age group, the Los Angeles Times reports. COVID-19 vaccines are currently available for children 12 and older under an emergency authorization, but they have only been fully approved for those 16 and over

The mandate will go into effect for eligible students during the term following full FDA approval of the vaccine, and there will be exemptions for medical reasons and for personal and religious beliefs. "State officials expect the mandate to begin taking effect next fall," the Los Angeles Times writes

During a news conference, Newsom said the COVID-19 vaccine would be added to the state's "well-established list" of 10 vaccines mandated for students. He similarly wrote on Twitter, "Our schools already require vaccines for measles, mumps and more. Why? Because vaccines work." The governor said waiting to implement the mandate until after full FDA approval will give California "time to work with" districts, parents, and educators on the plan. 

"I believe we will be the first state in America to move forward with this mandate and requirement, but I do not believe, by any stretch of the imagination, we will be the last state," Newsom said. "In fact, I anticipate other states to follow suit."