Governor Stitt, Commissioner Reed Clarify Kids in Oklahoma Not Required to Get COVID Vaccine to Attend School
Governor Kevin Stitt released the following statement after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) approved adding the COVID-19 vaccine to childhood immunization schedules.
“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,” said Governor Stitt. “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, Governor Stitt signed SB 658 which prohibits requiring a “vaccination against Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a condition of admittance to or attendance of the school or institution.”
“The vote by the Advisory Committee for Immunizations Practices is a recommendation and not a mandate,” said Keith Reed, Commissioner of Health. “The decision would add the COVID-19 vaccine to a list of recommended, but not mandated, vaccines for school-aged children, similar to the flu vaccine. We always encourage parents to talk with their child’s healthcare provider to make the best decision for their kid.”
Individual states often align their vaccine requirements with recommendations from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. However, state laws establish vaccination requirements for school children. Oklahoma’s guide to immunization requirements for the 2022-2023 school year can be found here.