Are children legally required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to go back to school?

Thursday, May 27, 2021
By Austin Tannenbaum

There is currently no federal law requiring children to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to school.

While all 50 states have the power to mandate vaccines for children wishing to attend a K-12 public school, no state currently requires children to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for school entry. A law professor specializing in school-mandated vaccines doubts that any state legislature will push for such a measure this year given that “it takes political capital, and my bet is that legislators will not even try until they can do it for children aged 5 and up.”

In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved COVID-19 vaccines for children 12 and older. Trials are ongoing for children younger than 12.

A consultant helping with school vaccination efforts told CNBC that “this is going to be a school district by school district decision.”

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
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