VDH will not impose COVID vaccines in schools | Fairfax County

Earlier this month, the Virginia Department of Health decided not to act on a petition to force COVID vaccines on eligible school employees and students.

The petition was filed in September by Kristen Calleja, mom of Virginia. He called on the ministry to mandate vaccines and demanded that only medical exemptions be allowed.

“My daughter and all other students should have the right to be able to go to school without being unnecessarily endangered by other students and teachers who refuse to be vaccinated,” Calleja wrote, adding that “the irrational minority public health policy for Virginia or schools should not be dictated.

Calleja wrote that students should not be put at unnecessary risk by those who refuse the vaccine and without constant disruption in their education. Unfortunately, even with an increase in vaccines, and now boosters, emerging variants like omicron continue to cause disruption and even vaccinated individuals still contract COVID.

“We need to be aware that even triples vaccinated are susceptible to transmitting the disease,” Ugur Sahin, CEO of vaccine developer BioNTech, told French daily LeMonde recently.

Natalie, a Fairfax County mother, said she would not have her child vaccinated due to research and evidence from many doctors and specialists. “There haven’t been extensive trials and we won’t know the real consequences or side effects in years to come,” she said. “A huge side effect reported even on the CDC website now is blood clots and myocarditis. I would never risk my son’s life for it when the child survival rate is over 99.9 percent.

During the 21-day public comment period, the petition received more than 15,000 comments. More than 14,000, or 93.42%, of comments were opposed to the imposition of the vaccine, according to the summary of the decision. Over 800 Virginians supported demanding beatings for students and school employees.

Since 2004, VDH has received 13 requests for rule making, less than one per year on average, according to a VDH official. “We believe this is the most comments we have received on a petition,” she said, adding that it was the only petition that involved vaccination requirements .

Currently, the VDH does not impose any vaccines for school employees, but does require vaccines against 15 different diseases for students. VDH does not have the power to remove exemptions from compulsory vaccinations, according to the decision.

When asked if the COVID vaccine could be added to the list of required vaccines, they replied that it was difficult to predict what future steps could be taken. “VDH will continue to assess these regulations for mandatory vaccines in schools from time to time to ensure compliance with federal recommendations. We will continue to assess federal recommendations as well as Virginia-specific financial and logistical considerations for each vaccine, ”said the spokesperson. “VDH will provide this information to the Board of Health for review as it becomes available. “

COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations are the only ones currently recommended by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but they are not required for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Virginia. VDH officials said the influenza vaccine is not needed largely for logistical and financial considerations, including the fact that the formulation changes every year.

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a nonprofit that advocates for the human right to informed consent, approved the decision, according to Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of NVIC. She said this action allows students and workers in Virginia to exercise voluntary and informed consent to the use of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Our position is that any consideration of future proposals related to vaccine mandates should be voted on by elected representatives of the state legislature, and not implemented by VDH officials through regulatory authority or dictation. by the Board of Health, and both the religious exemption and a flexible medical exemption from vaccination should be honored by the state, ”Fisher said.

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