SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A game changer for for schools. That's how one California education official describes the approval for kids as young as 6 months to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
"It's going to allow us to keep our students or teachers and our faculty safe from severe illness or death from COVID-19," California Deputy Superintendent of Superintendent Initiatives, Malia Vella to ABC 10News.
California was the first state to announce its intention to mandate vaccines in schools.
It was supposed to go into effect in July of this year but in April, it was pushed to July of next year.
The state said the move would give the federal government more time to fully approve shots for more age groups, and initiate its rule-making process.
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Vella believes a younger population getting approved for the shot allows the state to keep its timeline.
"When we see enrollment numbers down when we see children struggling to adapt to distance learning, when we see children suffering from mental health issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, this news is really a step in the right direction to mitigate all of those concerns," said Vella.
Governor Newsom's mandate has a loophole for religious and personal beliefs.
Lawmakers introduced legislation to try and close that loophole, but that effort was stalled earlier this year. They said the vaccination rate among kids was so low that shots shouldn't be required until they're broadly available in pediatrician offices.
Vella hopes this new approval will cause an uptick in vaccinations.
"I think we really need to consider the larger population for folks who have immunocompromised family members at home or in our classrooms."