Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said the decision to give COVID-19 vaccines to children should be the responsibility of parents, not schools.
“In Virginia, parents matter,” he added.
Advisers to the CDC voted on Oct. 20 to recommend including the COVID-19 vaccines on the next version of the child and adolescent immunization schedules, which will be published in early 2023. The CDC still has to adopt the recommendation, but the agency has been aggressively pro-vaccine since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the CDC doesn't have the power to mandate what vaccines are given to children, some school districts and states could require them to attend schools or even preschools.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf noted on Twitter, “We need to be clear that the benefits outweigh the risk of vaccination, but mandates are not the remit of either CDC or FDA.”
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, also a Republican, echoed Youngkin's sentiment on social media—as did other Republicans, including Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota
“I’ve always said mandates are the wrong approach and Tennessee has led in pushing back on federal COVID vaccine requirements,” Lee said on Twitter. “Thanks to our work with the General Assembly, Tennessee families won’t be impacted by today’s CDC vote. We’ll continue to stand for Tennessee children and for personal freedom."
Last week, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo has said that he does not recommend COVID-19 vaccines for children under the age of 18. Citing a state-backed analysis, Ladapo also said he doesn't recommend mRNA COVID-19 shots for males aged 18 to 39.