Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) (Getty Images)

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) (Getty Images)

(CNS News) — When asked whether public schools and colleges should be able to mandate COVID vaccinations for their students, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said, “it’s all dictated by the science.”

At the U.S. Capitol on July 14, CNS News asked Markey, “Do you think that public schools and universities should be able to mandate that students receive the COVID-19 vaccine?”

The senator said, “Well, I think, obviously it’s all dictated by the science. And if there is a good science-based justification for any decision the universities make, then I think they should follow it.” 

A number of universities have announced their plans to require student vaccinations for the upcoming school year, including Virginia Tech and The University of Colorado. They allow exemptions based on medical condition or religious beliefs.

However, according to Virginia Tech’s Frequently Asked Questions, the religious exemption form must be notarized and Virginia’s state health commissioner reserves the right to exclude you from university activity, if there are any perceived emergencies. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that K-12 schools highly encourage vaccinations, yet does not suggest mandates. They also note, “Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time,” and highlight alternate prevention strategies. 

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Despite this, some health officials are pushing for states and school districts to require the COVID vaccination for school children returning in the fall.

Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, said, “Anytime there’s legislation that potentially prohibits the health department from trying to prevent the spread of disease, even if it’s putting limits on masks or mandates on vaccination, then it’s another step that local health departments would have to go through should there be an outbreak or a rise in cases,” reported CNN

According to CNN, 34 states had introduced legislation seeking to limit vaccine requirements as of June 22. Six of the proposed bills include language regarding education or schools. 

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