COVID-19 Vaccines Are Now Mandated For Students in California

Mandating the COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend in-person school receives mixed responses from the public in the State of California.


Kristine Wook / Unsplash

Hospitals and schools across America are providing free COVID-19 vaccines.

In the State of California, Governor Gavin Newsom has added the Coronavirus vaccine to the state’s expansive list of mandatory vaccinations. Students ages 12 or older must now get the vaccine if they do not receive an exemption in order to attend in-person school. The purpose of mandatory vaccines is to reduce COVID-19 cases by keeping the younger generation alive and healthy. Students who refuse to comply with the mandate will not be able to return to in-person school and will have to rely on remote learning only, which has contributed to the mandate’s mixed reception.

While some people are happy to know that schools will be safer now that all students attending are vaccinated, others are outraged at the fact that they are forced to make their children take a shot approved only under a EUA.

Many students at Bronx Science, like Clio Liff ’25, “think the vaccine mandate is a great idea in order to take another step forward toward ending this pandemic.” Many parents are delighted that their children’s classmates will also be getting vaccinated. It means that they can send their children to school without being worried about their safety. There have been far too many deaths due to COVID-19 amongst all age groups. As of this article’s publication, 772,180 Americans have died due to COVID-19. The Coronavirus pandemic is a disaster affecting the entire world, and it has caused many people to lose both friends and family. No one is willing to have their child be the next victim. These California parents believe that mandating the COVID-19 vaccine will help to ensure safety for everyone in school. 

While some rejoice at California’s decision to mandate its vaccine, others are outraged. Many parents view the vaccine as a risk because the COVID-19 vaccines were released under FDA’s EUA (Emergency Use Authorization). This policy allows the “use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products” when issued during an emergency. This position is not supported by any scientific evidence, it should be noted. All studies to date show that the COVID-19 vaccines are highly safe and highly effective in preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19. 

Despite pushing for the COVID vaccine mandate in school, Governor Newsom’s own daughter remains unvaccinated. Although he says his daughter had “a series of other shots” to take first, he is known for breaking many of his own COVID-19 restrictions, like those banning large gatherings. As such, those skeptical towards the vaccine are reluctant to take their governor at his word.

Vaccines are free, and currently all Americans over the age of 5 can receive one (Towfiqu Barbhuiya / Unsplash)

Studies have shown again and again that getting the COVID-19 vaccine greatly reduces the risks of both getting and spreading the Coronavirus and protects the individual against hospitalization and even worse outcomes. By getting vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and the people you care about. “The COVID-19 vaccine can only help society in the long run in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. It will help life get back to ‘normal,’ in the years to come. It’s just the safe and responsible thing to do,” said Arianne Browne ’22. Young children under the age of 5 are still unable to receive the vaccine (clinical trials on this age group are still being conducted), so by getting the vaccine yourself, you are protecting the next generation. 

A common concern among people who are skeptical of the vaccine is the fear of side effects that the vaccine may have. For them, the vaccine has yet to be thoroughly tested, and there is a difference between strongly recommending an unapproved vaccine and mandating it. To mandate a vaccine that is only approved under a EUA can be seen as violating human rights and civil liberties. However, in this case, the safety of the majority is seen as more important than the concerns of the minority.

The controversy over the vaccine, once again raises the question: are the preferences of the general public more important than the personal preferences of an individual?

“The COVID-19 vaccine can only help society in the long run in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. It will help life get back to ‘normal,’ in the years to come. It’s just the safe and responsible thing to do,” said Arianne Browne ’22.