Governor Gavin Newsom Announces Covid-19 Vaccination Mandate for all Schools in California
California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently declared that the vaccination for Covid-19 will be added to the list of immunizations required among kids in school.
October 28, 2021
With mandates heavily supported and pushed among a majority of the Los Angeles population, California will now be the first state in the US to require vaccinations in order for children to be going to school. The vaccine for Covid-19 will now be a part of the list of immunizations required among kids to attend school.
This mandate will be slowly approved based on the timing with the U.S. government. As of right now, children must be 12-15 years of age to get the Pfizer vaccine or only in cases of an emergency issued by the Food and Drug Administration. Those 16 and over do not need any sort of authorization to get the vaccine.
Looking back on Mar. 2020, medical director Dr. Cruz M.D. reminisced about the first week of the pandemic in his wing of the hospital. “During the last surge, which was at the end of February/early March, we were saturated, in terms of patients coming in for evaluations that were suspicious for having Covid or upper respiratory infections; so not only were the clinics busy, but also the urgent cares and the emergency rooms. Obviously during those times when we had increased patients that needed to be evaluated, there was a good percentage of them that actually did have Covid pneumonia and required hospitalization. That trickled down to the hospitals being full because of patients with the Covid disease.” Adding on to this memory, Dr. Cruz also included that the ICUs were becoming full due to patients that were actually infected with the Covid-19 disease whose infection progressed and needed to be placed on a ventilator.
Dr. Cruz has remained at work through this pandemic, continuing to help people. He has recommended the vaccine to people, but reactions aren’t all 100% alike.
“I think the majority of patients understand the benefits of the vaccine,” Cruz States. “Some patients have information that’s not correct and so they feel that they won’t get the vaccine for that. The way I explain it to our patients, just like we do for the flu vaccine every year, is that having the vaccination puts you at a lower risk of developing severe diseases, so you’re less likely to develop Covid pneumonia. You’ll just get Covid.”
He compares getting the vaccine to the young patient population that gets Covid-19 in the sense that, with the vaccine, you would get Covid and symptoms would be minimal or possibly a bit more intense like the flu. But you come back, feel well and the disease goes away. However, for the percentage of patients that have medical conditions or are elderly and are at a higher risk, they will progress past symptoms, and develop more severe respiratory symptoms, like pneumonia. Dr. Cruz said that a majority of patients with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or asthma understand the situation because they’ve been in and out of clinics for so long. Ending up on a respirator in the hospital could be potentially life-threatening for them.
“If you’ve had the Covid disease in the past, the vaccine protects you against that strain of Covid, and you may not have acquired enough antibodies to protect you against future strains, or a variant of Covid,” said Dr. Cruz.
When the Delta Variant of Covid-19 came along though, Dr. Cruz shared that he was worried that the current vaccine wouldn’t work, but it was discovered that the antibodies mounted to the vaccine actually attack the Delta Variant as well. If you get the vaccine, you may be protected from different strains of Covid as it mutates, and if you only had the infection, you may only be protected from the one strain that infected you.
The mandate will be approved in phases. Children in age group 5-11 are still waiting to be approved, as it is still in the testing process. Students that are in seventh to 12th grade will need to be vaccinated the semester after the mandate is completely approved. The requirement may kick off in either Jan. or July, but according to Newsom, it’ll be whatever comes sooner. Though, for children that are in kindergarten through sixth, it will take even longer. We may not see complete action for younger students until sometime after Fall of 2022.
There has been a push and pull between parents who support the mandate and parents who believe it isn’t safe for younger children. While common for it to be debated on its safety, this vaccine mandate will more than likely have a domino effect on students’ and parents’ personal lives, causing a shift in schedule, work hours, etc.
“I understand why the mandate is being implemented. I think the mandate could have been rolled out differently. People are losing their jobs because of not complying with the mandate and unfortunately, that trickles down to being unemployed, not being able to pay your bills, or your house or your rent, so I think the way it’s being rolled out could have been done differently so it doesn’t cause a financial burden to people who still may be on the fence in terms of whether they want to get the vaccine or not.” Dr. Cruz also added that when trying to learn how to decrease the transmission rate for Covid-19 in the beginning, guidelines for staying safe against the cold and flu during the winter were applied to the situation, and it actually worked. It also had collateral results and lowered the rate of people getting colds and flu.
A common feeling throughout the community is that every time we take a step forward, we take two steps back. A feeling of hope may get lost on some of us, and we only see what happens now. Will, what the state of California is doing ever be enough for future variants and/or mutations of Covid-19? “If we take the right precautions, if we’re careful, and if we target this virus early, we may produce this situation where we could reduce the number of years of covid being around, but at the rate that we see the virus mutate, it may just be around and mutate every year, and so only time will let us know if we’re gonna be able to kind of eradicate it or be eventually desensitized where it doesn’t kill everybody as it has in the past because we didn’t know what it was or how it caused damage to our body. But only time will tell.”