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Schools Should Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine, Biden Education Secretary Says


Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Sept. 23 said that schools should mandate COVID-19 vaccines for eligible teenagers given that the FDA has granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine last month.

“Not only do I support it, but I’m encouraging states to come up with a plan to make sure it happens,” Cardona told Politico on Thursday. “I would like governors who hold those decisions to make those decisions now that [vaccines] are FDA-approved.”

“There’s a reason why we’re not talking about measles today,” Cardona said. “It was a required vaccination, and we put it behind us. So I do believe at this point we need to be moving forward.”

According to the CDC, 13 million children under the age of 18 have received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Sept. 22. The FDA granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine on Aug. 23 for people 16 and over. An emergency authorization is in place for children aged 12 to 15.

“Governors should work with their school officials and with their health officials to roll out requirements, especially in areas that are high-spread, and where students might be at risk for going back to remote learning, or hybrid learning, as a result of the spread of Covid-19,” Cardona said.

Children are at the lowest risk of adverse outcomes from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. A total of 464 children aged 17 and under have died with the virus in the United States since the beginning of the pandemic, according to CDC data compiled by Statista.

The CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, is the pathogen that causes COVID-19.

“This is about safely reopening schools,” Cardona said. “And what we know, based on not only on the Covid-19 vaccine, but the other vaccines that are already mandatory for school enrollment, is that they work. Our students have been disrupted enough, and sometimes you have to be crystal clear on what you believe.”

Cardona told Politico that he didn’t expect his call to result in a backlash in Republican-led states.

Republican governors in Florida, Texas and a number of other states are resisting pandemic-related mandates, especially in schools. The Biden administration is pushing back against some Republican-instituted anti-mandate measures.

Cardona’s department, for example, has launched several investigations into states which banned school mask mandates. The Biden administration is also reimbursing school districts that have lost funds as a result of defying bans on mask mandates.

“This is about safely reopening schools,” Cardona said. “And what we know, based on not only on the Covid-19 vaccine, but the other vaccines that are already mandatory for school enrollment, is that they work. Our students have been disrupted enough, and sometimes you have to be crystal clear on what you believe.”



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