BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration has agreed to remove the COVID-19 vaccine from the list of vaccines students are required to get to enroll in school in the state, officials said Wednesday.
The state health department said in a news release that it will continue to strongly recommend the vaccine, in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, but acknowledged that the vaccine had not yet received full U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for those under age 16.
“While we strongly recommend all eligible children be vaccinated against COVID-19 now, if they have not already been so, we are making this decision to give families and schools the time they need to prepare accordingly,” the news release said.
Because the vaccine is not fully approved for those age 15 and under, requiring it would have made little difference to most students in kindergarten through high school, Edwards noted during his monthly call-in radio show.
State Sen. Fred Mills, a Republican from New Iberia, announced on the Senate floor that the administration agreed to remove the requirement after meeting with legislators. Legislation that would have removed the COVID-19 vaccine from the requirement list had stalled earlier in the session.
“If a family wants to have their child vaccinated, there will be guidance,” Mills said.
Mills said lawmakers continued to hear from parents upset about the vaccine requirement.