California has put a hold on a bill that would mandate COVID-19 vaccine shots for young children in the state, citing “insufficient” voluntary vaccination rates.
Democratic state Sen Richard Pan is the bill’s sponsor and has now put a pause on moving it forward after introducing it in January. The bill was designed to compel every child attending any school in California to get the jab.
Pan said in a statement last week that polling now indicates that parents face substantial hurdles to getting their kids vaccinated, including “transportation and taking time off from work.” He added that he believes state officials should do more to make the vaccinations more accessible through children’s healthcare providers and should work harder to educate families about the benefits of the vaccine.
Pan’s spokesperson told reporters that his office had thought that “there would be a lot more uptake” of the vaccines by this time. He added that with a voluntary vaccination rate for 5- t0 11-year-olds sitting at 34 percent, it “doesn’t make sense” to move forward with the bill until “access issues” are addressed.
California politicians continue to push vaccinations for young children despite the existing and growing evidence that children have extremely low risk of serious problems from COVID-19. Many critics and parents consider the low benefit to be greatly outweighed by the risk of adverse medical effects from the experimental medication.
Dr. Paul Elias Alexander, who worked in the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services, said in an article last fall for the Brownstone Institute that pressing parents to have young children vaccinated is “dangerous” and “absolutely reckless.”
California also recently abandoned another controversial vaccine mandate effort. An employer mandate that would have required every worker in the state to be vaccinated died last month without a vote in the state assembly.
The Sacramento Bee reported that the bill’s sponsor withdrew the bill that would have required vaccination certifications for every worker and independent contractor in the state by the beginning of next year because of resistance from a group of public safety unions.