Will Louisiana Students Be Forced to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
On December 14th, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced that he had made the decision to add the COVID-19 vaccine to Louisiana's school immunization schedule. The move, against the suggestion of the state's House Committee on Health & Welfare, would essentially make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all kids eligible to receive the vaccine.
I say 'essentially' because there's legal action in works and the ability for parents to opt kids out. We're going to cover as much as we can with what we know, so you know exactly what you need to do for your family.
Is It Legal for Louisiana's Governor to Mandate School Kids to Get the COVID Vaccine?
The short answer is, we're about to find out. Louisiana is the only state, other than California, to make such a move thus far. So, there's not a lot of legal precedent when it comes to making the COVID shot mandatory in schools.
However, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has already announced he is taking the Governor to court to block his attempt to add the COVID shot to the list of required vaccines. In a social media post announcing the law suit, AG Landry said "It is disappointing the Governor has forced us into court."
You can read the full lawsuit here.
Although, it should be noted that every attempt to broadly mandate the COVID vaccine has failed in the courts. However, those mandates have only been temporarily stopped and legal proceedings are still ongoing. So, what the final outcome will be and how soon it comes is still up in the air.
Can Louisiana Parents Opt Their Kids Out of the COVID Vaccine?
There is an opt-out plan for parents regarding the COVID shot. Despite going against the recommendations of the Health & Welfare Committee, Governor Edwards did leave an out for parents if they are not in favor of getting their kids the COVID vaccine.
Edwards, in his official letter explaining his decision, said "pursuant to this rule, no child will be forced to be vaccinated against the will of his or her parents. The rule explicitly provides that any student may be exempted by submitting 'a written statement from a physician stating that such vaccination is contraindicated for medical reasons, or the individual or his parent or guardian submits a written dissent.”'
Edwards went on to say that Louisiana state laws is on of the broadest exemption clauses in the United States.