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Battle over COVID vaccine mandate at Florida public schools could be next

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – As of Monday afternoon, vaccines against COVID-19 were only available for students age 12 and older. But there are pediatricians and infectious disease experts who believe the access needs to be expanded and schools will eventually need to impose mandates.

On Sunday, during an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said he expects the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will establish safety.

“When that gets established ... mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea,” said Fauci, chief medical adviser to the White House and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Face mask and vaccine mandates have been controversial in Florida where Gov. Ron DeSantis has been determined to leave those decisions in the hands of parents. Fauci said a vaccine mandate should be a nonissue since there are already school immunization requirements in place at U.S. public schools.

”We have done this for decades and decades, requiring polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, so this would not be something new, requiring vaccinations for children to come to school,” Fauci said.

Rep. Carlos Gimenez opposes a vaccine mandate: “We want you to get vaccinated. Do I think that I am going to mandate you to get vaccinated? No!”

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About the Authors:

Madeleine Wright is a general assignment reporter for Local 10 News. She joined the team in March 2017.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.