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Proposed rule would add COVID vaccine to those required for all Louisiana students

Shalina Chatlani
Gulf States Newsroom
Priya Lewis and her daughter Anjali, 5, were eager to sign up for a Pfizer COVID-19 shot for kids between the ages of 5-11, November 4, 2021.

Children and students in Louisiana schools, universities and day care centers would be required to be immunized against COVID-19 under a rule proposed by the state health department that is pending legislation, the Advocate reports.

The rule would update the list of immunizations required to attend Louisiana’s public and private schools to include a full series of any one of the fully FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines on the market.

Currently, only students age 16 and older would be affected by the rule because fully-approved vaccines are only available for those age 16 and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has the FDA’s emergency-use approval for kids ages 5 to 15 years old, but it hasn’t received full approval yet.

Without full FDA approval, LDH won’t require children under 16 to be vaccinated.

Students can be excused from the vaccine requirement with a note from their physician or a notice of dissent written by the student or their guardian.

The Louisiana Department of Health filed the rule’s Notice of Intent on Sept. 20 and received no attention during the 30-day window for public comment.

State Rep. Larry Bagley, who chairs the House Committee on Health and Welfare, told the Advocate that legislators will hold an oversight hearing on the proposal next month before deciding whether to put it into effect.

Aubry is a reporter, producer and operations assistant in Baton Rouge.

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