On Monday, parents across the state of California pulled their children out of school to protest Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public and private school students.
Thousands of parents, students, and school staffers participated in the statewide walkout, with the largest protest converging at the state capitol building in Sacramento.
— Brian Hickey (@kcraBrianHickey) October 18, 2021
Earlier this month, Newsom announced that students over the age of 12 will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting next semester.
Younger children would be phased in after a vaccine for ages 5-12 is grated emergency use authorization by the federal Food and Drug Administration.
“I’m not against anyone getting vaccinated,” student Maddox Smith, at Sacramento’s protest, told KCRA. “I’m against being forced to get vaccinated. I think it’s about power more than anything, not public health.”
Lost Angeles parent Rima Mkhitran told SkyFOX that she’d joined a local rally because “we want our children and our teachers to have a choice.”
Los Angeles Unified School District employee Hovik Saponghian, told the outlet that children should not be required to “take something without all the data.”
“I’m here protesting the mandate because we don’t believe that we should take it religiously, ethically or morally,” Saponghian said.
The details of medical and religious objections to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate have yet to be finalized by the governor’s office.
When asked by KCRA about the protests, the governor’s office replied that “vaccines are how we end this pandemic.”
“The state already requires that students are vaccinated against a range of viruses such as measles, mumps, and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19,” a spokesperson in the governor’s office said. “This is about protecting our children and school staff, and keeping them in the classroom – these measures are why California leads national trends in preventing school closures and achieving the lowest case rates in the country.”
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