NJ Can Now Mandate COVID Vaccine to Attend School
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending the COVID-19 vaccine be added to the list of shots required before kids can attend school.
State and local districts have the ultimate say on what is required on the list of immunizations.
New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith (R, NJ-03) is pushing back hard on the CDC's recommendation and demands President Joe Biden's administration disclose all clinical data the CDC used in making its recommendation.
"Vaccines currently on the immunization schedule are proven to prevent an illness; this does not," Smith said in a news release.
Gov. Phil Murphy has yet to say whether he plans to add COVID-19 vaccination to the list of required school vaccinations, but there has been support in the legislature for doing so.
NJ Sen. Joe Vitale, D-Middlesex, who chairs the Senate Health Committee, said in 2020, "I believe it ought to be included in that list of vaccines that are required for children."
At the time, Vitale said he would wait until the CDC made its recommendation, but "if the science supports its efficacy," there would be little debate about including it as a requirement.
Smith, however, remains unconvinced.
"Parents are rightly concerned about possible side-effects of the vaccine on their children's health," Smith said.
The congressman also noted that vaccine mandates are far less common in European countries. "The United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden are moving in the opposite direction," Smith claims, "Recommending that most children not get the vaccination due to low rates of COVID among children and deep concerns over possible serious side-effects.”
The CDC announcement is not a mandate in itself, only a recommendation. The agency says it "represents another step in the nation's recovery," and they will continue to work "to ensure a smooth transition of the COVID-19 vaccination program from emergency response to a routine immunization program activity."