Last updated on: 1/22/2024 | Author: ProCon.org

Should States Be Allowed to Mandate Vaccines for School Attendance?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting 29 doses of 9 vaccines (plus yearly flu and COVID-19 shots after six months old) for kids aged 0 to six. No U.S. federal laws mandate vaccination, but all 50 states require certain vaccinations for children entering public schools. Most states offer medical and religious exemptions; and some states allow philosophical exemptions. For more on school vaccine mandates, explore the ProCon debate.

PRO (yes)

Pro

Joe Biden:

“Folks, vaccination requirements work, and there’s nothing new about them. They’ve been around for decades. We’ve been living with these requirements throughout our lives. Students, healthcare professionals, our troops have been required to receive vaccinations for everything from polio to measles, to mumps, to rubella.

And the reason most people in America don’t worry about polio, measles, mumps, rubella is because they’ve been vaccinated.”

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White House, “Remarks by President Biden on the Importance of COVID-⁠19 Vaccine Requirements,” whitehouse.gov, Oct. 7, 2021

CON (no)

Con

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr:

“For many, many years, I think parents were so gaslighted, and they were scapegoated, and they were vilified and marginalized, so that even parents of kids who were very, very badly injured, knew what happened to their kid, but they were just reluctant to talk about it. And I think now those days are over….

We – our job is to resist and to talk about it to everybody. If you’re walking down the street – and I do this now myself, which is, you know, I don’t want to do – I’m not a busybody. I see somebody on a hiking trail carrying a little baby and I say to him, ‘Better not get him vaccinated.’ And he heard that from me. If he hears it from 10 other people, maybe he won’t do it, you know, maybe he will save that child.

If you’re one of 10 people that goes up to a guy, a man or a woman, who’s carrying a baby, and says, ‘Don’t vaccinate that baby,’ when they hear that from 10 people, it’ll make an impression on ‘em, you know. And we all kept our mouth shut. Don’t keep your mouth shut anymore. Confront everybody on it.”

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Daniel Dale, “Fact Check: Rfk Jr. Claimed He’s Never Told People To Avoid Vaccination. He Did – Less Than Two Years Ago,” cnn.com, July 21, 2023

Not Clear or Not Found

Nikki Haley:

“I think that every person has the right to make that decision for themselves, they have the right to make that decision for their families and mandates are not what America does. You know I equate it in way to when I was governor of South Carolina we had hurricanes. What I did with hurricanes was I educated. I told them what was going to happen. I told them how best to protect themselves. I educated on what we thought we were going to do and I allowed them to make the decision on their own whether they should get out [of the path of the storm]. We couldn’t force someone out of their home, right. It’s the same thing with the vaccine…. I get it. Did my family get it? Yes, we got it. We thought that that was the right decision for us. But if you ask a woman who wants to get pregnant and she’s worried about it or you ask a parent whose child might be compromised and they’re worried about [the vaccine]. That’s a personal family decision. You can’t force someone to do something.”

Editors’ Note: As a South Carolina state representative, Haley initially supported an HPV vaccine mandate for girls. She later voted against the bill, but left her name on the bill as a co-sponsor. She stated, “Through the legislative process, it became clear to me that an opt-out provision was not going to be included in the bill and it sought to mandate that middle-school girls obtain a vaccine — and strip parents of the right to make the choice for their daughter. In light of that turn of events, I voted to kill the bill.” South Carolina requires most childhood vaccinations for school entry and allows both medical and religious exemptions.

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CBN News, “Nikki Haley Warns We’re on a Frightening March Toward Radical Socialism – Full Interview,” youtube.com, Nov. 4, 2021
Source for Editors’ Note: Shawna Shepherd, “Rising GOP Star Haley Has Own History With HPV Vaccine Fallout,” cnn.com, Sep. 16, 2011

Donald Trump:

“I will not give one penny to any school that has a vaccine mandate or mask mandate from kindergarten through college.”

Editors’ Note: Trump was speaking specifically about COVID-19 vaccines and has not made his position about other vaccines for school kids clear.

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Kayla Jimenez, “Trump Vows To Cut Federal Funding for Schools Teaching CRT, Accommodating Transgender Students,” usatoday.com, Mar. 15, 2023