Michelle Vargas of Granite City, Illinois, has always vaccinated her 10-year-old daughter, Madison. They both typically get flu shots. But when a vaccine for the coronavirus eventually comes out, Vargas will not be giving it to her daughter — even if Madison’s school district requires it.
“There is no way in hell I would be playing politics with my daughter’s health and safety,” said Vargas, 36, an online fitness instructor. If the public school Madison attends and loves says the vaccine is mandatory, “we would find other options,” she said.
As pharmaceutical companies race to manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine, many people are wary of a shot that is working its way through the approval process at record speed during a highly politicized pandemic. While some professions could require employees to get the vaccine, experts say schools almost certainly will require students to — potentially setting the stage for a showdown between reluctant parents and education officials.
“We want to make sure kids return to in-person learning as quickly as possible, and we do see a vaccine playing a huge part in the process,” said school law attorney Brian Schwartz, an adjunct professor of education law at the University of Illinois Springfield. “This is going to be a huge issue, and I don’t think most people understand that yet.”