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California will soon require all students 12 and older to get vaccinated

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Friday announced that all eligible public and private schoolchildren age 12 and older will be required to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Medical and religious exemptions would be available, according to the report.

The mandate would be the first of its kind across the country.

What are the details?

Newsom made the announcement Friday while speaking at a San Francisco-area school.

According to the outlet, the mandate would take effect for grades 7 through 12 for the semester following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's full approval of the vaccine for children 12 years and older.

"Students in kindergarten through sixth grade would be phased in after the vaccine is formally approved for younger children," the Times report added.

The mandate could go into effect for eligible students as early as January 2022 if there is a full federal approval for a COVID-19 vaccine for that age range.

In a statement, Newsom said, "There's still a struggle to get to where we need to be. And that means we need to do more, and we need to do better."

Once the mandate goes into effect, students will not be permitted to attend in-person classes until they are vaccinated. If students opt out of vaccinations for medical or religious reasons, they would have the option to enroll in an online-only school or be homeschooled.

"This is just another vaccine," he added. "[The coronavirus vaccine will join] a well-established list that currently includes 10 vaccines and well-established rules and regulations that have been advanced by the legislature for decades."

In September, Pfizer submitted evidence to the Food and Drug Administration indicating that their COVID-19 shots are safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11.

Experts believe that the shots could be made available to that group by Thanksgiving.

What else?

The report added that 54% of the nation's adolescents ages 12 to 15 years have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as 62% of 16- and 17-year olds.

In August, Newsom announced that all school staff would either need to provide proof of full vaccination or be tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis in order to deliver in-person instruction. All school staff is required to be in full compliance by Oct. 15.

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