Could the COVID-19 vaccine be mandated for school children in Illinois?

Will Illinois mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for school children?
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 5:07 PM CDT
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HERRIN, Ill. (KFVS) - Will COVID-19 vaccines be required to go to school?

It’s one question that has been brought up to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, who said he plans to let lawmakers decide.

“Honestly it’s a little bit of smoke and mirrors on Governor Pritzker’s part, because he knows he doesn’t have the authority to mandate children to get that particular vaccine,” said Illinois State Senator Terri Bryant.

She said she believes this is an election time stunt.

“It’s very clear that parents are upset about the authority he is tried to take away from not only the legislature but from local school boards,” Bryant added.

In a press conference in front of Morton West High School, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said, ”All across the state we have representatives that want to be heard on this subject, I think it’s appropriate.”

Pritzker added that “I think we should follow the scientists and doctors, that’s what I’ve been doing all along. Make sure we’re doing the right thing here.”

Through previous executive orders, Pritzker mandated COVID vaccines for staff at K-12 schools and state colleges.

The district superintendent for the Herrin school system said that decision should rest with the local school boards.

“I think this vaccination would totally fall into that category of ‘let us decide in this community if that’s what’s best for our community,’” said Nathaniel Wilson, Herrin schools superintendent.

Bryant believes if the COVID-19 vaccine was mandated in schools, you’d see a push for students to private and homeschooling.

“I think you would see a huge influx in private schools, but not everyone can afford a private school. So you’d probably see a real push towards vouchers for schools that has somewhat died down in the last few years. I think there would be a real push for vouchers but I think you’d also see a real push for people to homeschool their kids,” she said.

More information on the state’s current immunization list can be found here.

The CDC recommends the COVID-19 vaccine be on the schedule of youth vaccines for next year.

California added the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations for school children.