Bill to bar cities, schools from requiring Covid shots for school attendance

DES MOINES — A bill eligible for debate in the Iowa Senate would ensure the State Board of Health has sole authority for adding to the list of required vaccinations for children enrolled in Iowa schools or child care centers.

The bill would prohibit school or city officials from requiring that children be vaccinated against Covid before they may return to local schools in the fall. And, if the state Board of Health were to require Covid shots, Republican Senator Tim Kraayenbrink of Fort Dodge says the bill ensures parents may be able to opt out if that happens.

“The bill also provides that medical and religious exemptions from vaccinations apply still during the times of emergency and epidemic,” he says.

Under current law, the state Board of Health can deny all exemptions from childhood vaccinations during public health emergencies. The bill cleared the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

Iowa and other states require school-aged children be vaccinated against contagious diseases like polio and the measles before they enroll in school. So far, California and Louisiana are the only states that have added Covid vaccinations to the list of required shots that are mandatory for school attendance.

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