News Release

California adds COVID-19 vaccine to required students immunities

The requirement will take effect the first school semester after FDA approval for specific age groups.

Information provided by the Office of the Governor of California


California became the first state in nation to require COVID-19 vaccinations for students in an in-person learning setting, according to a press release by the governor’s office. This requirement will take effect the term (semester) following FDA full approval of the vaccine for their grade span (7-12 and K-6).

According to the press release the school vaccine requirements include:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom is directing the California Department of Public Health to add the COVID-19 vaccine to other vaccinations required for in-person school attendance—such as measles, mumps, and rubella—pursuant to the Health and Safety Code sections 120325 – 120380.
  • requirements will apply to all “pupil[s] of any private or public elementary or secondary school[s].”
  • COVID-19 vaccine requirements will be phased-in by grade span, grades K-6 and 7-12 This will also promote smoother implementation.
  • This mandate will be a condition of in-person attendance. (HSC section 120335(f)). A student who is not vaccinated may remain enrolled in independent study but may not attend in-person instruction.
  • Requirements established by regulation, not legislation, must be subject to exemptions “for both medical reasons and personal beliefs
  • The Governor has also directed that adults be held to at least the same standards as students for the COVID-19 vaccine. While currently, California requires all K-12 staff to verify their vaccination status or be tested weekly, all staff will be required to be vaccinated no later than when the requirement takes effect for students.
  • The current verify-or-test requirement for staff will be converted to a vaccine mandate no later than when the first phase of the student requirement becomes effective.
  • Five districts nationwide — all in California — have moved forward with a student mandate (in the following order): Culver City Unified; LA Unified; Oakland Unified; Piedmont Unified; and San Diego Unified. Local public health and school officials are encouraged to move forward with their own vaccine requirements.
  • While individual counties and schools may accelerate vaccine requirements, the state requirement will create a statewide standard to ensure all staff and students will be vaccinated.


  • Students will be required to be vaccinated for in person learning starting the term following FDA full approval of the vaccine for their grade span (7-12 and k-6).
  • Upon full approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of a vaccine for age groups within a grade span, CDPH will consider relevant recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians prior to implementing a requirement, as required by the Health and Safety Code section 120335(b)(11).
  • CDPH will then initiate the rulemaking process, which includes public comment. Regulations promulgated pursuant to that process will also address many of the details of the requirement, including the scope of exemptions, etc.
  • The regulations will take effect at the start of the following term, meaning either January 1 or July 1, whichever comes first. (Education Code 37200). This will also give both parents and schools sufficient time to prepare and implement.
  • Based on current projections for full approval for ages 12+, we anticipate the requirement would apply to grades 7-12 starting on July 1, 2022.
  • Students who are under the age of full approval, but within the grade span, will be required to be vaccinated once they reach the age of full approval (with a reasonable period of time to receive both doses), consistent with existing procedures for other vaccines.

For more information see here.



BenitoLink Staff