COVID-19 Shots Required for Kids? Not in New Hampshire, Dept. of Education Chief Says
Despite a recommendation by the CDC that the COVID-19 vaccine be added to the list of required immunizations for schoolchildren, it will likely not happen in New Hampshire.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made the recommendation Thursday in its update of childhood and adult immunization schedules. It would join a list that already includes Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, and Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR).
"CDC only makes recommendations for use of vaccines, while school-entry vaccination requirements are determined by state or local jurisdictions," the CDC said.
Many states, including New Hampshire, follow the recommendations of the CDC and require certain vaccinations for children to attend public school.
New Hampshire Department of Education and Commissioner Frank Edelblut told school districts that state law prohibits them from adding the COVID-19 requirement to the Granite State's list, according to a report by the news site Granite Grok.
Passed in 2021, the law prohibits a COVID-19 vaccination to "secure, receive, or access any public facility, any public benefit, or any public service from the state of New Hampshire." It includes counties, cities, towns, precincts, water districts, school districts, school administrative units, or quasi-public entities.
If state Sen. Dr. Tom Sherman were to defeat Gov. Chris Sununu in November, there could be a change in that law. The Democrat told Seacoast Current in February that he was against the bill.
"I think we should be letting facilities, venues, municipalities, hospitals, make their own decisions at this point based on what they're seeing in their communities. That's also the New Hampshire way," Sherman said.
The law made UNH one of the few colleges in the country during the pandemic to not require the COVID-19 vaccination in order to be on campus. However, rules requiring the vaccination for those working at entities with federal government contracts meant staff had to take the jab anyway.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH