(CNS News) -- When asked whether public schools and colleges should be able to require their students to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said he has “serious concerns” about mandating a vaccine under emergency approval by the FDA.
At the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, CNS News asked the senator, “Should public schools and colleges be able to mandate that students be vaccinated for COVID-19?”
Sen. Hawley said, “Let me just say that I’ve got really serious concerns about these institutions mandating the use of a vaccine that’s only been approved for temporary – that only has a temporary use authorization, emergency, I’m sorry, emergency-use authorization.”
He continued, “I think that the answer is no, I think they should not mandate it. And, you know, in a normal circumstance, with this emergency-use authorization, what you typically have to do with those is, before you administer the vaccine, you have to tell people what the risks are and you have to advise them on this.”
“Now, listen, I’m not saying people shouldn’t get vaccinated,” said Hawley. “I’ve been vaccinated. But I do think it’s a whole other thing to say, ‘You must go out and do this, if you’re going to access public education and other public services.’”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that 331 children age 17 and younger have died from COVID-19 in the United States.
To this, Sen. Hawley said, “Any loss of life is too many, but I would just say that my view is that you give the American people all of the facts and you give them the options to make their own decisions, and then you let them make their own decisions.”
“I am very opposed to having government tell them, ‘You must do this or you must do this or we’re going to withhold from you services that your taxpayer – your tax money is paying for.’ I think that’s wrong, I think there are major legal issues involved in that,” he said.
Hundreds of colleges across the country are requiring students to be fully vaccinated before returning to campus for the 2021-2022 school year, and many local school districts are considering similar mandates for their public schools.
Virginia Tech is among the hundreds of universities that are now requiring students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, offering limited exemptions “for medical reasons and sincerely held religious beliefs,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands wrote in his announcement of the mandate.
However, for students who receive exemptions, the school may still “order your exclusion from the university” in the event of an outbreak.
Indiana University (IU) is also disallowing any unvaccinated students to return in the fall and is not offering online education options.
“IU has outlined strong consequences for those who choose not to meet the COVID-19 vaccine requirement and do not receive an exemption,” the university’s website states, consequences that include cancelling their registration and terminating their student ID.
“This is saving lives, it’s as simple as that, and it will enable us to have a normal fall semester,” said IU President Michael A. McRobbie.
The Biden administration continues to promote vaccination and, on July 14, pop-star Olivia Rodrigo will visit the White House to encourage young people to get vaccinated.
Since April 21, 2021, over a thousand cases of myocarditis and pericarditis, heart inflammatory diseases, have been reported in young people after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, as is reported on the CDC’s website. However, the CDC is still encouraging children 12 and up to get the vaccine, claiming the benefits outweigh the risks.