California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday that he would require all private and public school students between seventh and 12th grade to get vaccinated against COVID-19, once the vaccines are approved for ages 12 and over.
According to The Associated Press, the governor’s executive order will take effect once a vaccine receives full federal approval for ages 12 and over.
Following Newsom’s announcement, California became the first state to outline a vaccine requirement for school children.
“We have to do more,” Newsom said during a news conference held at San Francisco middle school. “We want to end this pandemic. We are all exhausted by it.”
School districts across the state have already crafted their own individual mandates for their students. The L.A. Times reported last month that the L.A. Unified School District—which is the second-largest in the country—had previously issued a similar rule requiring students between 12-18 to be fully vaccinated by January. The district also implemented a rigorous testing regime, requiring students and faculty to get tested at least once weekly.
Newsom’s mandates have been praised by many state education groups, including the state’s largest teachers union, and the California Association of School Boards. He even received praise from the California Medical Association’s president, Dr. Peter Bretah.
“This is not a new idea. We already require vaccines against several known deadly diseases before students can enroll in schools,” Bretah said to the Associated Press.
“The Newsom administration is simply extending existing public health protections to cover this new disease, which has caused so much pain and suffering across our state, our nation, and the entire globe over the last 18 months," Bretah continued.