Senate Health and Human Services chair assures Oklahomans COVID shots not mandatory for school

Oklahoma City – Sen. Paul Rosino, chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, is reassuring Oklahomans that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cannot make it mandatory for children in this state to get COVID-19 vaccines.

Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, said that the CDC’s decision Thursday (October 20) to recommend the vaccines has caused confusion for many Oklahoma parents who’ve reached out to his office about their concerns.

“Oklahomans can rest assured, the decision about the COVID-19 vaccine is up to parents. If they have questions about the shots, they can discuss those issues with their children’s pediatrician, but at the end of the day, it is the parent’s decision,” Rosino said.

“Furthermore, the legislation we approved in the 2021 session prohibits making the COVID-19 vaccine a condition for attending school in Oklahoma.”

As reported earlier in The Oklahoma City Sentinel, Commissioner of Health Keith Reed is also stressing the shots are not mandatory.

“The CDC’s decision to add the COVID vaccine to routine childhood immunizations is only a recommendation, it is not a mandate,” Reed said.

“The decision adds the vaccine to a list of recommended, but not mandated, vaccines for school-aged children, similar to the influenza vaccine. We always encourage parents to talk with their child’s healthcare provider to make the best decision for their child.”

Governor Kevin Stitt has also emphasized the right of parental choice for COVID-19 vaccines in Oklahoma:

“Regardless of what the CDC in Washington says, nothing changes in Oklahoma and kids are not required to get a COVID vaccine to attend school.

“It’s up to parents to decide how to protect their child from viruses and as long as I am governor, we will never force kids to get a COVID vaccine to go to school.”

In 2021, the Legislature passed, and Stitt signed into law, Senate Bill 658, prohibiting “vaccination against Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a condition of admittance to or attendance of the school or institution.”