California Pediatricians Support State-Required COVID-19 Vaccination for Eligible Children and Safe In-Person Learning

The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA) represents over 3,500 pediatricians who believe in the importance of having children attend school in person. Pediatricians have seen first-hand the detrimental impact on education as well as physical, social, and emotional health of children with distance learning across the nation and the state of California.

AAP-CA supports the announcement by Governor Gavin Newsom to require COVID-19 vaccination for all eligible children in school as an added measure to ensure safe, in-person attendance. As the first-in-the-nation measure, Governor Newsom states, "Vaccines work. It's why California leads the country in preventing school closures and has the lowest case rates. We encourage other states to follow our lead to keep our kids safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19."

"Immunizations are a safe and effective way to fight infectious diseases," states AAP-CA Chair Yasuko Fukuda, MD FAAP. "The eradication of smallpox and polio, as well as prevention of meningitis, measles and whooping cough, show that vaccines work. New vaccines are developed and evaluated by a long-standing rigorous process to ensure effectiveness and safety."

To implement vaccination of children successfully, collaboration is of utmost importance. Physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, school administrators, educators, and health departments working together can educate families and ensure equitable access to immunization.

The COVID-19 vaccine is an essential component of fighting this pandemic. As medical professionals, pediatricians want to protect the community and maintain safe schools. As of Sept. 23, 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that children represent 16% of COVID cases. Over 5.7 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. Nearly 207,000 cases were added the past week, the fifth consecutive week with over 200,000 child cases reported in the United States.

"We must make every effort to ensure all children and the education community are safe in our school systems," Dr. Fukuda continues. "The call to action is for all of us to allow our children to thrive in school while protecting our families and communities."

Karmi Ferguson, AAP-CA Executive Director
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Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, California