WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infec...
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Fauci Says Schools Requiring Covid-19 Vaccines “Might Actually Occur”

The nation's top infectious disease expert says schools may decide to make the Covid-19 vaccine a mandatory immunization if cases continue.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert has said he wouldn’t be surprised to see schools include a Covid-19 vaccine on their list of required immunizations should cases of the virus continue to crop up across the United States. On Tuesday, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS This Morning that while there is currently no policy mandating Covid-19 vaccines, schools could begin to implement them as communities work to balance prioritizing a return to in-person learning with efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19.

“That might actually occur,” Fauci said Tuesday when CBS This Morning host Dana Jacobson asked if schools should add the Covid-19 vaccine to their list of required immunizations. “That is not the situation right now but I could imagine, as we get further into this, and we see where we’re going with this outbreak, whether or not it’s going to essentially be with us for a considerable period of time, I would not be surprised.”

Fauci went on to clarify again that Covid-19 immunizations were not currently a requirement for public school attendance. “That is not a policy right now so don’t anyone get confused by what I’m saying,” he said. “What I am saying is that I would not be surprised that in the future this is something that would be seriously considered depending upon how we handle the outbreak.”

According to Fauci, schools may require eligible students obtain a Covid-19 vaccine ahead of the academic year should cases and new variants of the virus continue to spread into next year. “If we go into this year and the next year and we see we still have a problem with this it very well may be required,” he said.

In contrast, Fauci said there’d be no need for schools to require Covid-19 vaccines if the United States saw case numbers and transmission rates drop to and stay at a level where there’s very little activity at all. “Right now that is not happening,” he said.

Of course, not everyone is keen on making Covid-19 vaccines a school requirement. According to CNN, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Montana, Oklahoma, and Utah have already enacted legislation restricting public schools from adding Covid-19 vaccines to their list of required immunizations. And earlier this month, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill into law that effectively prevents the state’s public schools from mandating Covid-19 vaccines until such vaccines have been given full federal approval, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Currently, only individuals 12 and older are eligible for Covid-19 vaccines, although clinical trials are currently being carried out to test the vaccines’ efficiency in children as young as 6 months old.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.