California will then apply the vaccine mandate for students under 12 years of age in a second phase after full FDA authorization takes place that age group. Pfizer submitted initial trial data to the FDA on children ages 5 to 11 last month and said it would request emergency use authorization in the coming weeks.
The FDA has scheduled a meeting on Oct. 26 to review Pfizer’s application to give shots to that age group, making it possible to start administering Covid vaccines to 5- to 11-year-olds by Halloween or shortly thereafter.
“Currently, we have in the state of California administered at least one dose to 63.5% of all of our young cohort ages 12 to 17,” Newsom said at a press conference. “But we have to do more — 84% of all eligible received one dose, but for 12 to 17, we’re not where we need to be.”
California reported more than 6 million public school students as of April, according to its Department of Education.
Newsom previously issued a weekly testing mandate for all unvaccinated school staff on Aug. 11. The governor added that he was awaiting further guidance from the Biden administration before enacting a vaccine mandate for all school staff to correspond with the upcoming rollout for students.
Similar testing mandates for California’s employees and health-care workers who refuse to immunize also took effect in early August.