Oct. 20, 2021 -- California parents demonstrated on Monday to show their opposition to recently enacted state and local COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students.

Many of the parents said they’re not anti-vaccine, but they don’t want to be forced to get their children vaccinated.

“We’re saying this is a new 'science' and it needs to be proven before we go and start injecting these little guys,” Bobbie Koolen, a protester at Balboa Park in San Diego, told TV station KNSD on Monday.

"I don't think that the science and the data is even out yet to make those decisions," said Ranae Fieck, a parent and occupational therapist who joined the protest at Balboa Park. "Having those mandates already set in stone without even having the data and the research and the knowledge of what those are - I just think we're in that spot of not really knowing yet," she said.

She said she kept her kids out of school Monday to show her opposition to the local school district’s vaccine rule.

A San Diego Unified School District official told KDSD that the attendance rate on Monday was 90.91% -- a bit lower than the 92.36% for the previous Monday. The district has about 103,000 students.

On Oct. 1, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state would require all K-12 students to be fully vaccinated in the school term after the FDA grants full approval for the vaccine for those age groups. California would become the first state with such a requirement.

“The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps, and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19,” Newsom said in a news release.

The news release said that “based on current information,” ​​students in grades 7-12 will probably be required to be vaccinated by July 1, 2022. It’s not known when the FDA will fully approve the vaccines for those age groups.

The San Diego Unified School District enacted a more stringent vaccine mandate last month that requires students 16 and older to receive a first Covid-19 vaccination by Nov. 29 of this year and a second dose by Dec. 20.

Students who don’t get vaccinated or have an exemption won’t be able to take in-person classes, the district said in a news release.

More than 64% of San Diego Unified students 12 and older have already gotten at least one dose of vaccine and more than 57% are fully vaccinated, the release said.

Newsom said school employees will be required to be vaccinated, too. San Diego also has an employee mandate.

KNSD reported that at least a dozen bus drivers in the Poway Unified School District called in sick Monday to protest the mandates. That affected at least 500 students, a school district spokesperson said.

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

KNSD. “Parents Keep Kids Home, Employees Call Out to Protest School COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate”

Governor of California. “California Becomes First State in Nation to Announce COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements for Schools”

San Diego Unified School District. "SAN DIEGO UNIFIED TO REQUIRE COVID-19 VACCINES"

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