Your Turn — It’s time we put COVID-19 in our rear view mirror

Published 3:07 pm Saturday, October 29, 2022

Earlier this week, an advisory committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted 15-0 to add the COVID vaccine to the Federal government’s “Vaccines for Kids” program. Despite reports to the contrary, the vote will not make the vaccine mandatory for Virginia students.

First and foremost, the vote by the CDC does not make the COVID vaccine mandatory for children attending school in Virginia. The Commonwealth, not the Federal government, sets those rules, and they do not automatically follow CDC’s Vaccines for Children Program.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 15-0 Thursday to add the vaccine to the CDC’s schedule once it becomes commercialized, likely in the summer of 2023.

That schedule is related to federal funding for childhood vaccines, not the mandated vaccines for school entry. While Virginia law does track Federal laws in some instances, it does not do so on vaccine requirements.

To add the COVID shot to Virginia’s list of mandated vaccinations, either the General Assembly would have to pass legislation into law, or the Board of Health would have to go through the standard rule-making process.

Board members have been petitioned to make the vaccine mandatory before – before a Republican won the Governor’s mansion – and they declined to do so.

When we ran for office, we did so with the promise of putting parents back in charge. We did that with masks in schools, we did that with explicit materials in the classroom, and we will continue to do so with COVID vaccines for minor children.

Parents are best positioned to judge risks, and rightly have the final say in this matter. That won’t change while Republicans oversee the House of Delegates.

Forcing COVID-19 vaccines on children should be in our rearview mirror. I will continue to work with Governor Youngkin on protecting your children from Government overreach and protect the freedom of the people in the Commonwealth.

DEL. TOMMY WRIGHT can be reached via email at DelTWright@House.Virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.