By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation that would prohibit the federal government and any entity at the federal, state and local level that receives federal funding, including school districts, from requiring COVID-19 vaccines for minors.
“Parents should have the right to decide what is best for their children in consultation with their family doctor,” he said. “My view on the COVID-19 vaccine has remained clear: no mandates of any kind.
“President (Joe) Biden and his administration have repeatedly ignored medical privacy rights and personal liberty by pushing unlawful and burdensome vaccine mandates on American businesses, and now they are preparing to push a mandate on kids by pressuring parents — all without taking into account relative risk or the benefits of natural immunity.”
The bill would prohibit the federal government and any recipient of federal funding from the Department of Health and Human Services and/or the CDC at the state, local, tribal or territorial level from requiring any individual aged 18 or younger to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
It also would prohibit any school district or educational entity from imposing a mandate requiring any students age 18 or younger to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If any school district were to impose a mandate, it would lose eligibility to receive Title IV, Part A and Title II, Part A funding.
The bill also would require parental consent for the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine to a minor and apply to all COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for use under Emergency Use Authorization or, if fully approved, were first approved under EUA.
Sen. Cruz filed the bill after CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be administered to children between ages 5 and 11 after the Food and Drug Administration authorized its EUA use for the age group. It previously approved EUA for children between the ages of 12 and 15 years old.
Children ages 5-11 can now get the vaccine.
During the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting, several members acknowledged that approval of the Pfizer vaccine for the 5-11 age group under emergency use could effectively function as a mandate of the vaccine.
School districts across the country have used CDC masking guidelines as a justification to mandate mask wearing as a condition to attend school, Sen. Cruz noted. Likewise, the federal government, state governments, corporations and some school districts have used the CDC’s vaccination recommendation as a way to mandate the vaccine as a condition of employment or attendance, which he and others have argued is unconstitutional.
President Joe Biden and his administration should “stay out of decisions related to a child’s health,” Sen. Cruz said, arguing they are “decisions best left to parents.”
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting vaccine and mask mandates from being required as a condition of employment or service, both of which are currently being litigated in court.