San Diego Parents React to State Student Vaccine Mandate

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When it comes to the vaccine mandate, just like the mask mandate, parents have some pretty strong opinions about requirements for their children in school.

Many parents in San Diego have had a positive reaction to Governor Gavin Newsom's statewide vaccine mandate he announced Friday. But, of course, there are some mixed feelings, too.

"I certainly think this is something that makes sense," ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Paul Schalch-Lepe said.

The nation's first statewide mandate will affect millions of students, but Dr. Schalch-Lepe reminds the community this isn't out of the ordinary.

"Let's not forget, like things have been mandated already, for schools before you. Every child within school-age has to prove vaccination for a number of infectious diseases before they even start school," he said.

Maribel Rodriguez's kids aren’t eligible to receive the vaccine yet because they're only 9 and 11 years old. But Rodriguez says they both suffer from underlying health conditions, and she says knowing other kids around them will be vaccinated will keep her mind at ease.

"I will totally feel more safeguarded in the sense where there's not going to feel like there's a security blanket on top of children in general, that are younger and more vulnerable," Rodriguez said.

Natalia Briggs' daughter isn’t eligible for the vaccine either. Once she is, however, Briggs says she will likely take her out of in-person instruction and place her under an independent studies program instead.

"I think the parents should be able to decide on the health of their kids," she explained.

Unlike other vaccinations, the governor's plan would allow parents to cite personal beliefs when refusing to vaccinate their children. For now, at least, the exemption must be granted because the new vaccine mandate was imposed by the governor instead of the legislature.

It will be up to schools and school districts to enforce the mandate as they do with other required vaccines, like those for hepatitis b, measles, and chickenpox.

The start date for the mandate could come as early as Jan. 1 depending on when the FDA full authorization of the vaccine for all school-age children.

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