Texas Rejects New CDC Recommendation to Mandate COVID Shot for Schoolchildren

Texas Rejects New CDC Recommendation to Mandate COVID Shot for Schoolchildren
Syringes and vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Netanya, Israel, on Jan. 5, 2022. (Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images)
Charlotte Cuthbertson
The entity that determines the vaccination schedule for children in Texas was quick to adjust its website on Oct. 20, hours after advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a recommendation to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the children’s immunization schedule.

After a state representative expressed his concern, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) removed a line on its website that stated: "Children need all CDC-recommended vaccines" to attend school.

Rep. Brian Harrison, a Republican, said he was pleased the DSHS quickly removed the "problematic language" from its website.

Harrison served as chief of staff for the federal Department of Health and Human Services during the Trump administration.

"I think governors who blindly defer to the CDC are derelict in their duty. I think state legislatures who allow state agencies to blindly defer to the CDC, at least for COVID vaccines, are derelict in their duty," Harrison told The Epoch Times on Oct. 24.

Many states unilaterally adopt the CDC vaccination recommendations without input from elected officials or parents.

"These people [CDC officials] are approving vaccines based on nothing more than political considerations, and they're doing it on a regular basis," Harrison said.

"If we [the Trump administration] had approved a booster, for example ... with data from only eight mice, there would have been immediate calls for impeachment."

One of the CDC advisers who approved the COVID-19 vaccine for children on Oct. 20 said it was an indication that the virus is endemic.

“When I think about the routine immunization schedule as a pediatrician, I think of it as an opportunity to prevent serious disease and death," Dr. Matthew Daley, an adviser, said.

"And if something is added to the schedule, it’s because I feel like the benefits continue to strongly outweigh the risks.”

The COVID-19 vaccines have proven increasingly ineffective against both infection and severe illness from newer virus variants. In addition, there's no evidence the vaccines protect against severe disease for children younger than age 5.

 Texas state Rep. Brian Harrison, a Republican, in a file photo.<br/>(The Epoch Times)
Texas state Rep. Brian Harrison, a Republican, in a file photo.
(The Epoch Times)
In Florida, the state health department recently advised against the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines for healthy children as well as for males aged 18 to 39.

"Based on currently available data, patients should be informed of the possible cardiac complications that can arise after receiving a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine," the Sunshine State's Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said in an Oct. 7 statement.

"With a high level of global immunity to COVID-19, the benefit of vaccination is likely outweighed by this abnormally high risk of cardiac-related death among men in this age group."

While Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hasn't issued a statement regarding the new CDC recommendation for children, his spokesperson, Renae Eze, told The Epoch Times that "Texas has a longstanding law that protects parents’ rights to decide what vaccinations their children will get."

"To protect Texans’ right to choose for themselves and their children, Governor Abbott issued an executive order last year ensuring exceptions,” she said.

Abbott's executive order, issued on Oct. 11, 2021, remains in place, subject to legislative action.
"No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19," the order states.
Currently, the Texas Education Code grants the DSHS authority to set immunization requirements without legislative action, which Harrison wants to change with regard to the COVID-19 vaccines.

To such an end, Harrison is preparing to introduce a bill in the upcoming legislative session that begins on Jan. 10, 2023.

"Texas, through the Legislature, must pass a law to ban COVID vaccine mandates. It's a moral imperative," Harrison said.

He expects to have the support needed for its successful passage.

"If we don't ban COVID vaccine mandates and allow unelected bureaucrats in Washington to force needles in the arms of Texans against their will, we might as well give up on the Constitution. We might as well give up on individual liberty, give up on state sovereignty, give up on medical freedom, give up on informed consent," Harrison said.

Douglas Loveday, DSHS press officer, told The Epoch Times via email on Oct. 24 that his agency will "follow the direction and will of the Legislature."

Under the school vaccine exemption section on the DSHS website, a note states that the COVID-19 vaccine isn't listed because "the state of Texas does not currently require the COVID-19 vaccine for attendance" at schools and day care facilities.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.
Charlotte Cuthbertson is a senior reporter with The Epoch Times who primarily covers border security and the opioid crisis.
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