Should local schools require vaccines? Doctor, parents weigh in


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — As Kern County passes 400-thousand vaccine doses, California’s public universities plan to require students and teachers to take coronavirus vaccines to return to campus. Many parents in Kern wonder if their children’s schools will require them to take the shots. No local school districts have announced plans to require vaccines for students or teachers, but some parents say everyone should consider taking the shots before returning to the classroom.

“It should be available to them,” said Dorothy Bartel, a Bakersfield resident. “But I have a granddaughter, she’s not taking it. Because she’s heard so many things against it. But a lot of those things that you hear against it probably aren’t true.”

Not everyone thinks kids should roll up their sleeves. The latest federal data says Kern County ranks 7th highest in the state for vaccine hesitancy. This comes as Pfizer says its vaccine is safe and effective for kids aged 12 to 15, asking the FDA to authorize it for this age group.

“The students, the young ones, I’m not so sure,” said Ron Bartel, a Bakersfield resident. “Their infection rates are real low, and they recover real quick. I think the teachers should get it though.”

No coronavirus vaccines have been approved for people younger than 16, but clinical trials are ongoing. Doctors say Kern residents should consider vaccinating their kids if the FDA says it’s safe.

“Anybody that is in the age range for the vaccine, should take the opportunity and get the vaccine,” said Dr. Ronald Reynoso, Chief Medical Officer for Adventist Health.

Local community colleges encourage students and staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible, but haven’t required anyone to take the shot. No word yet on whether the FDA will approve the Pfizer vaccine for children younger than 16.

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