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Santa Barbara County – The California Department of Public Health announced on Thursday that the student vaccine mandate (which included a personal belief exemption) will be delayed until at least the 2023-24 school year. According to the announcement, the earliest California would implement a vaccine requirement after full Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval would be July 1, 2023. 

The FDA has yet to approve a vaccine for students ages 12 and up. The State of California announced last October that full approval by the FDA was a precondition to initiating the rulemaking process to add the COVID-19 vaccine to other vaccinations required for in-person school attendance—such as measles, mumps, and rubella—pursuant to California’s Health and Safety Code.

“To ensure sufficient time for successful implementation of new vaccine requirements, California will not initiate the regulatory process for a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the 2022-2023 school year and as such, any vaccine requirements would not take effect until after full FDA approval and no sooner than July 1, 2023,” according to the statement from the state Department of Public Health.

Earlier in the day on April 14, 2022, it was announced that Senate Bill (SB) 871 (by Senator Pan) will not proceed. This bill applied specifically to updating the requirement for children to attend public child-care or school by adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of immunizations required for enrollment, potentially prior to full FDA approval. This bill would have also removed the personal belief exemption for COVID-19 and any future vaccines added to the list by the legislature or CDPH, including removal of the personal belief exemption currently included in the Governor’s October 1 plan. 

The full announcement delaying the mandatory start of the COVID-19 vaccine can be found here:


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