The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s advisory committee unanimously voted Thursday to add the COVID-19 vaccine to its list of recommended immunizations for children for 2023.
The CDC does not mandate immunization requirements for children to attend schools. Instead, federal health guidelines “only make recommendations for use of vaccines, while school-entry vaccination requirements are determined by state or local jurisdictions,” the agency said in a press release Thursday.
Various states will likely adopt the CDC vaccination recommendations and mandate them for children to attend schools.
That will not be the case in Texas.
Just hours after the CDC added the COVID-19 vaccine to its recommended immunization schedule for children, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) removed a line on its website that stated: “Children need all CDC-recommended vaccines” to attend school.
State Rep. Brian Harrison noted what the CDC’s decision could mean for Texas students. Harrison had served as chief of staff for the federal agency Health and Human Services during the Trump administration.
Harrison told The Epoch Times he was pleased by the DSHS quickly removing the “problematic language” from its website.
“I think governors who blindly defer to the CDC are derelict in their duty, I think state Legislatures who allow state agencies to blindly defer to the CDC, at least for COVID vaccines, are derelict in their duty,” Harrison said.
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz also criticized the CDC’s updated recommendations for children.
“The CDC continues to make recommendations that ignore science, erode public trust, and target Americans’ healthcare freedom,” Cruz said in a press release.
“Sadly, too many states will wield this recommendation as a mandate to force children to receive the COVID vaccine in order to attend school. This will result in discrimination against conscience (sic) objectors and – particularly in Washington, D.C. – against black schoolchildren,” Cruz continued.
Dr. Matthew Daley, one of the CDC advisers involved in approving the COVID-19 vaccine for children, said last week that the updated recommendation indicated the virus is endemic.
“When I think about the routine immunization schedule as a pediatrician, I think of it as an opportunity to prevent serious disease and death,” Daley suggested.
In Florida, the state health department recently advised against the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines for healthy children and males between 18 and 39, as reported by The Dallas Express.
“Based on currently available data, patients should be informed of the possible cardiac complications that can arise after receiving a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine,” Florida’s Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said in an October 7 statement.
“With a high level of global immunity to COVID-19, the benefit of vaccination is likely outweighed by this abnormally high risk of cardiac-related death among men in this age group,” Ladapo stated.
In Texas, the Legislature gave DSHS the authority to set all the vaccine requirements for school attendance.
Rep. Harrison wants this to change specifically regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, saying he will file a bill during the next legislative session, which begins January 10, 2023.
“Texas, through the Legislature, must pass a law to ban COVID vaccine mandates. It’s a moral imperative,” Harrison said, adding he expects his bill will receive sufficient support to pass.
“If we do not ban COVID vaccine mandates and allow unelected bureaucrats in Washington to force needles in the arms of Texans against their will, we might as well give up on the Constitution, we might as well give up on individual liberty, give up on state sovereignty, give up on medical freedom, give up on informed consent,” Harrison continued.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has not directly commented on the new CDC recommendation for children. But his spokesperson, Renae Eze, issued a statement saying, “Texas has a longstanding law that protects parents’ rights to decide what vaccinations their children will get.”
“To protect Texans’ right to choose for themselves and their children, Governor Abbott issued an executive order last year ensuring exceptions,” Eze said.
Abbott’s executive order against vaccination mandates, signed on October 11, 2021, remains in effect as well.
The order stipulates that “No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”
Additionally, Texas law explicitly allows schoolchildren to be exempt from otherwise mandatory vaccines and immunizations for reasons of conscience, such as religious reasons and allows medical exemptions.