Pritzker’s challengers oppose COVID-19 vaccine mandates for school kids | Illinois | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

(The Center Square) – Some of Illinois’ gubernatorial candidates are getting their stance on record about whether COVID-19 vaccines should be mandated to attend public school.

An advisory panel with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved adding COVID-19 vaccines to the list of child vaccines for the 2023 schedule.

“States establish vaccine requirements for school children, not [the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] or CDC,” the CDC said on Twitter.

That’s prompted concerns there could be a future state mandate for children to get the vaccine in order to go to school.

Governors and gubernatorial candidates from other states have been announcing their positions on the issue ahead of the Nov. 8 elections.

Illinois state law says immunizations shall be required in accordance with rules created by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The agency wouldn’t say Friday if they plan to make such rules after the CDC’s recommendations.

Incumbent Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker previously had a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for college students and staff, and K-12 staff, but has since relaxed those. His office and campaign did not return messages seeking comment. He didn’t take questions at a public campaign event Thursday.

The governor has previously said the state will reflect CDC guidance on issues surrounding COVID-19.

“I think they’re doing good work on this,” Pritzker said of previous CDC guidance changes this past summer.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey said on Twitter his administration will oppose mandating COVID vaccines for schools and called the incumbent Democrat the “mandate candidate.”

“As Governor, my administration will oppose mandating COVID vaccines for grade school, college and employment,” Bailey said on Twitter. “We all know the mandate candidate, J.B. Pritzker, will force it on your kids because he thinks the government knows better than parents.”

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Scott Schluter said he opposes all mandates and such decisions should be up to individuals.

“In virtually all situations, health care should be a decision between a patient and their doctor,” Schluter told The Center Square. “I don’t think the government really needs to be involved in those decisions at all.”

If there are COVID-19 vaccine mandates for children to attend school, Schluter foresees political consequences.

“A lot of people have had enough, they are well past their tipping point when it comes to mandates and government involvement in their life and intrusion into their decision making and I think what you’ll see is a lot more school choice pop up,” Schluter said.

A list of IPDH Immunization Requirements for 2021 linked from the Illinois State Board of Education produced a “page not found” error. IDPH’s link for Ages 0-18 Immunization Schedule goes to the CDC’s 2022 documentation.

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