Although the New York government isn’t actively considering a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public school students across the state, the option remains on the table, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul.
“We now have this available. We’ve been making preparations for weeks now,” she said, adding that the New York government has been in regular communication with all the providers, so that there will be various places that parents can go to to have their children vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available.
When a reporter asked whether there will be a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in public schools, Hochul said a mandate is not necessary at this point, because the New York’s COVID-19 numbers are decreasing.
“That’s a possibility. It’s on the table,” the governor said. “As I’ve said all along, I want to empower parents and schools to do the right things first.”
“But if we’re not seeing adequate compliance, or we’re seeing the numbers start going up—this is what we’re monitoring closely—if I start seeing infection rates going up, hospitalizations going up, more children being infected, I will have no choice,” she continued. “But right now, the numbers are good, we’ll get the kids voluntarily vaccinated, parents will hopefully do the right thing.”
Hochul also announced during the press conference that the New York government will move forward with its “Get Out the Facts” campaign to “combat COVID-19 vaccine misinformation” and to “convince parents and schools that their children need to be vaccinated.”
“One of the reasons we’re identifying why people are not getting vaccinated is that they are believing the lies on social media,” she said, calling a popular article that is skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccine “dangerous [and] misleading.”
While it’s unclear when the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will formally approve the shots for young children, New York has already pre-ordered 380,000 pediatric doses, and is preparing to distribute them.
Meanwhile, at the national level, the Biden administration said last week that it has bought enough doses for all 28 million 5- to 11-year-olds in the United States, and will provide it in smaller packages with smaller needles to make it easier for physicians and pediatricians to administer to children.
“Should the FDA and CDC authorize the vaccine, we will be ready to get shots in arms,” said White House COVID-19 response team coordinator Jeff Zients during an Oct. 20 press conference.