At Least 11 States Say No to Mandatory COVID-19 Shots for Kids

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At least 11 states have rejected or are expected to reject a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that pediatricians give COVID-19 shots to children along with other vaccines.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices unanimously decided Thursday to add COVID-19 shots to the children’s immunization schedule, which some schools and states use to create vaccination requirements. Many states, however, have laws in place that prohibit schools from requiring a COVID-19 vaccination for students.

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The Wyoming Department of Health said it will not add the COVID-19 vaccine to the school vaccine schedule for children following the CDC recommendation, according to the Cowboy State Daily. The office of Gov. Mark Gordon, a Republican, reinforced the decision, announcing that Wyoming would not be listening to the CDC guidance.

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“Wyoming has no plans to pursue adding [a] COVID vaccine to its required list,” Gordon’s spokesman, Michael Pearlman, told the Cowboy State Daily. “The governor has not mandated vaccines for adults or children, and believes that COVID-19 vaccination is a personal choice.”

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, announced in a Thursday tweet that his state would not be taking the CDC’s guidance, citing laws against such a measure. In July 2022, an Iowa law went into effect exempting students in K-12 schools from vaccine requirements until 2029, The Des Moines Register reported.

Reynolds’ office referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to that law when asked for comment.

“Regardless of what the CDC says, as long as I am governor, we will never force kids to get a COVID vaccine to go to school,” Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, also a Republican, wrote in a Thursday tweet.

Stitt signed SB 658 into law in 2021, prohibiting Oklahoma schools from requiring a COVID-19 vaccination to attend.

In Montana, the law prohibits discrimination based on one’s vaccination status and applies to all “educational opportunities,” according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. Indiana law prohibits public school districts from requiring students, employees, and parents from showing proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

West Virginia law says no state entity may require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter or use services, according to the academy. South Carolina law prohibits school districts from requiring a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition for student attendance.

When asked for comment, the office of South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to McMaster’s Friday tweet.

“There’s some confusion on the CDC COVID-19 vaccine recommendations,” McMaster wrote. “Let me clarify. As long as I am governor, I will never let the federal government—or anyone else—force the COVID-19 vaccine on South Carolina schoolchildren.”

Florida doesn’t allow any educational institution to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on students, and Georgia prohibits any school district from requiring the vaccine to receive an education, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. In Mississippi, schools are prohibited from requiring students to get a COVID-19 shot in order to attend.

Arkansas prohibits so-called vaccine passports, “including as a condition for education,” according to the academy, and Arizona law prohibits a COVID-19 vaccination from being required to attend school.

The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did the governor’s offices in Wyoming, Florida, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, West Virginia, Montana, Indiana, and Oklahoma.

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