Concerns regarding digital vaccine passports and mandatory vaccines for children prompted the Orange County Board of Education (OCBE) May 5 to oppose the measures.
Its vaccine passport resolution came despite the County of Orange previously assuring the public such a platform, if approved, would be strictly voluntary.
The OCBE’s decision followed an April 7 rally that drew hundreds of community members and public commenters at the board’s Costa Mesa headquarters.
“If we don’t stop and make it an issue and come out against it and bring the public’s attention to it, they’re going to require kids to have this digital vaccine passport,” board President Ken Williams said during the May 6 meeting.
Protesters during the April rally referenced unverified reports of alleged remarks by Dr. Clayton Chau. They accused him of saying during a Zoom call that public school students would be mandated to take the vaccine.
Chau has repeatedly denied making such comments.
“Dr. Chau has been clear that he has no authority to mandate vaccinations under the FDA’s emergency use authorization,” Jessica Good, spokeswoman of Orange County Health Care Agency, told The Epoch Times in an email on May 6.
Board member Tim Shaw said that even though Chau is not “intending to have any kind of vaccination program without parents’ consent, [the board can] say what we are for or against.”
The OCBE released a statement of its own, saying: “The board stands side-by-side with Orange County residents against mandatory vaccinations, particularly of school-age children.
“The board has repeatedly proven itself to be a strong supporter of parental rights and vehemently condemns and opposes any effort to curtail parents’ authority to make the best choices for their children. Schools are for inculcating facts and knowledge, and not advancing vaccination mandates for children who are at very little risk of the COVID-19 pathogen.”
Williams said that passing these items was a way for the board to address controversial issues that could grow and become a reality for the county.
“It’s taking a leadership role in something that is very invasive and controversial and runs afoul of personal health data,” Williams said.
Board member Rebecca Gomez, the only dissenting vote, said it wasn’t the board’s place to cast judgment on vaccinations and vaccine passports.
“I’m all for medical privacy, that’s my background,” Gomez said. “I wouldn’t want information shared willy nilly, if it’s a person’s private information. … I don’t advocate for [vaccine] passports, but I don’t think this is the place to do that.
“I don’t want anyone to think that we are in any way, shape, or form discouraging the use or the use of vaccines, or discouraging people from getting vaccinated.”