Louisiana House passes resolution that would inform parents vaccines are optional


    Monique Egana, an staff member at Lake Forest Charter School, gets her vaccine. Teachers and staff at Lake Forest Charter School in New Orleans East were given vaccines on school grounds on Monday. (Photo courtesy of Mardele Early)

    A resolution from Rep. Kathy Edmonston (R-Gonzales) that would have schools and universities inform parents and students that they don’t have to take a COVID-19 vaccine passed in the Louisiana House of Representatives Wednesday by 74-12 vote. 

    There have been no proposals to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for students, and, at the moment, there are no COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for people younger than 16. However, Joe Kanter, the state’s chief medical officer said Wednesday that children as young as 12 could be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as next week if the Food and Drug Administration’s evaluation of the Pfizer vaccine goes as expected.

    Students and parents should be informed that the “COVID-19 vaccine is for emergency use only, is experimental, and has not been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration,” reads Edmonston’s resolution. 

    Each of the three available COVID-19 vaccines has been granted an emergency-use authorization by the FDA.  Whether that means the vaccines are “experimental” is unclear. A fact-check published by Reuters says the claim that the vaccines are experimental “is not true – they have all been put through standard safety testing before being rolled out to the public.” 

    Edmondston said from the House floor that there are federal and state laws already in place “that require that any person has the right to refuse a vaccine for reasons of health, religion or conscience.”

     “We’re directing educational facilities in the state to fully inform each person to their right to refuse the vaccination,” she said.

    Only 0.002% of vaccinated Louisianians — or 27 people — had been hospitalized for COVID-19 after being vaccinated, Joe Kanter, the state’s chief medical officer, said during a press conference last week. Kanter and other state health officials have repeatedly said the state’s three COVID-19 vaccines are all safe and effective.