LDH proposes vaccine mandate be added to student immunization schedule

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 3:29 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2021 at 6:57 PM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The Louisiana Department of Health has proposed a vaccine mandate that intends to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the Louisiana Office of Public Health’s immunization schedule. This means LDH would add the COVID-19 vaccines to the list of required shots for students 16 and up.

However, the FDA would have to get full approval for the mandate to apply to all students. At this time, full approval is only for those ages 16 and up. Students would also have the option to submit a written dissent to be able to attend educational settings in Louisiana.

KSLA News 12 reached out to the Louisiana Health Department regarding their COVID-19 vaccine mandate proposal, the following is the statement they provided;

In September, the Office of Public Health notified the legislature and the public via the Louisiana Register that it intended to add the COVID-19 vaccine to its immunization schedule through the regular rule-making process. This would require students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit a written dissent to be able to attend educational settings in Louisiana. Importantly, this would only apply to age groups for which the COVID-19 vaccine has been fully approved and licensed by the FDA. At the moment this only applies those ages 16 and up. The goal is to promote a safe learning environment and help prevent transmission in the school setting. Children are safer if they have been vaccinated. As a reminder, 9 children died due to COVID in our last surge. A total of 18 children in Louisiana have died of COVID since the start of the pandemic. This real threat to children in Louisiana and all that we know about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines are what drove our decision. We strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and those around them, including other children and vulnerable family members. This is especially critical with the holiday season upon us and as we learn more about Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant that has been detected in at least 18 countries to date. We know parents and families want to make the best decisions for themselves and their children, which is why we encourage them to reach out to their healthcare providers with any questions they might have. Our notice of intent to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the OPH immunization schedule was published on September 20, 2021.

“It’s going to be mandated to the extent that other vaccines are mandated but only when FDA gets fully licensed or full authorization, that’s ages 16 and up. So, that’s who it’s going to apply to, said Governor John Bel Edwards.

Edwards said he supports LDH’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate proposal.

“It would be totally, I think, inappropriate, unfortunate and dangerous to not add the COVID vaccines fully licensed by the FDA to the schedule,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said he opposes LDH’s proposal.

“I think that the rule is absolutely problematic. If Louisiana is going to embark on vaccinating students in the state of Louisiana, it should be coming from the legislature and not the Louisiana Department of Health,” he said. “Ultimately this is a decision that should be made by parents,” Landry added.

The Louisiana Health and Welfare Committee will have a meeting on Dec. 6, 2021. They are the the ones who decide whether the proposal will move forward or not.

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