Connecticut probably will not mandate that children get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend public schools, regardless of who wins the governor’s seat in November.
During separate press conferences, both Bob Stefanowski and incumbent governor Ned Lamont said they were not inclined to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required school vaccinations.
“We don’t think it should be forced, forced on kids, forced on public employees. It’s up to the person,” said Stefanowski, referring to himself and his running mate Rep. Laura Devlin (R-Fairfield). “They should have the choice.”
For his part, Governor Lamont said he believed his administration would treat the vaccine like the one for the flu, which is not required for students under the age of 5.
“We didn’t require anything in the classroom. I don’t think that’s going to have to change for any reason I can imagine, ” said Lamont, according to reporting from CT News Junkie. “It’s not like measles where a kid gets measles, the entire class gets infected. This is a very different situation.”
The statements come on the heels of a Thursday decision from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. They approved a vote from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the Vaccines for Children Program.
This decision led to premature concerns and outrage, partially stoked by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, that the vaccines would be automatically required for all school-age children, which the CDC later clarified is not the case.
On Thursday, the Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner, Dr. Manisha Juthani, clarified also offered clarification on the issue stating, in part:
“This vote simply means that once COVID-19 vaccines are commercialized and no longer available under the Federal Government’s National COVID-19 Response, VFC providers will be able to order the vaccines through the Vaccines for Children program. Equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all ages and populations remains critically important. The VFC program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated due to an inability to pay. The Connecticut Department of Public Health encourages parents to vaccinate their children 6 months through 17 years old for COVID-19. Updated boosters for eligible children 5 years of age and older also should be administered at least two months following primary vaccination.”