A COVID vaccine mandate for students to attend public school in Louisiana is voted down by the House Health and Welfare Committee. The vote on the measure was 13-2. Only Dustin Miller and Robby Carter voted to require the vaccine as part of the school  immunization schedule.

Who Wants to Require the Vaccine for Students?

The State Department of Health wants to include the vaccine for students ages 16 and over. But there has also been some discussion about a requirement for younger students, as well.

But Governor John Bel Edwards does not believe legislative approval is necessary. The Governor says this fight is not over. He believes the State Department of Health has the authority to add this vaccine to the schedule of required vaccinations despite the “misinformation presented today during this legislative meeting”.  He says this vaccine will ultimately be added to the list of required vaccinations. But parents will have opt-out options for parents with religious objections or those students have medical issues or other philosophical issues.

Who Opposes the Vaccine Mandate for Students?

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry tweeted out a statement in support of this panel’s vote.

I applaud the Legislature, who just voted in bipartisan manner and in agreement with our legal advice that COVID-19 is not a ‘vaccine preventable’ disease’ and that the executive actions of LDH went beyond their statutory authority. We also want to thank the hundreds of Louisianans who came to the Capitol today and had their voices heard. These types of policies should be decided by the people through their representatives not by medical czars or by executive fiat. We challenge the Governor to accept the will of the people.

The Governor has previously said “I just think it’s really, really important to embrace the science and really it’s also important to not engage in misinformation.  Absent some compelling reason, I fully expect that we will be adding the vaccine to the schedule.”

When Could the Vaccine Mandate for Students Go into Effect?

If this measure is put in place by LDH, it would apply to students ages 16 and older attending Louisiana public schools beginning in August of next year.

But this move could cause some rough sailing for LDH. Senate Finance Chair Bodi White has even threatened to slash the department’s budget if this measure is put in place without legislative approval.

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