Some parents share conflicting views over vaccine mandate ahead of Monday’s planned protest

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Thousands of parents are getting ready to rally at the California State Capitol building Monday in protest of the vaccine mandate for children.

Michelle Page is the mother of two children, a 10-year-old and an 11-year-old.

Page told FOX40 she is not comfortable with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new requirement for students to get vaccinated in order to go to school.

“The forcing of the vaccine is not okay with any of us,” Page said.

And Page is not alone.

On Monday morning, thousands of people will be right at the Capitol in protest of the vaccine mandate, hoping their message gets across to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“With students, they should be able to have that choice to be able to attend school, or not, right? Whether or not they get the vaccine,” said Jonathan Zachreson, the founder of the advocacy group, Reopen California Schools.

“We’re pulling our kids from public school and it is absolutely something we don’t want to do. We don’t want to do this,” Page said.

The government says all three U.S. vaccines continue to offer strong protection against hospitalization and death from COVID-19, and that the priority is getting first shots to the 66 million eligible but unvaccinated Americans who are most at risk. 

The disease has been most dangerous to older adults, who have higher rates of death and hospitalization than children. But some kids are at risk for severe illness, and more than 540 U.S. children have died from COVID-19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Just as important, health officials believe that vaccinating children will reduce virus spread to vulnerable adults.

While some parents feel like they should have the right to choose, other parents, like Kathleen Lancaster, told FOX40 they believe the mandate is a good thing.

Lancaster lost her husband to COVID-19 while he was waiting to get vaccinated.

“I believe in the science and the research,” Lancaster said. “My kids can’t go to school without vaccines. You can’t join the military without getting poked about 20 times, so I’m not so sure why this one.”

“This is unlike all of the other vaccines,” Page explained. “We make the decision of what goes into our kids’ bodies. Plain and simple.”

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech are furthest along in researching use of their vaccine in younger children. They say a two-dose vaccine series — one-third as potent as the version giving to people over 12 years old — is safe and effective in 5- to 11-year-olds.

As the vaccines are awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration to be used on kids, Page said if tomorrow’s protest fails, she has no choice but to consider other schooling options for her kids, a message she hopes is loud and clear.

An independent expert panel that advises the Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to publicly debate the evidence at a meeting in late October. If the FDA authorizes the kid-size doses, a different expert panel advising the CDC would take up the matter in early November, and then offer a recommendation to the CDC.

FOX40 reached out to the governor’s office for comment but did not hear back.

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