Amelia Knisely Published

Justice Says COVID-19 Vaccine Won’t Be Required For Students

A child receives the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Fairfax County Government Center in Annandale, Va.,  in November 2021. A committee of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended Wednesday that the agency expand authorization of COVID-19 vaccines to children as young as 6-months-old.

West Virginia won’t require children to receive the COVID-19 vaccination for school enrollment, according to Gov. Jim Justice.

He doubled down on his stance against vaccine mandates at Monday’s press conference following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine experts’ vote that the COVID-19 vaccine be added to the children’s routine vaccination list. This was not a mandate.

“As long as I’m your governor, I will do everything in my power to prevent the federal government or West Virginia Legislature from mandating these COVID vaccines in our school system,” Justice said.

Schools and local jurisdictions have authority to determine vaccination requirements for school enrollment. No state so far has required the COVID-19 child vaccine for school enrollment.

Around 20 percent of West Virginia kids ages five to 11 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19; the number is 40 percent for 12 to 15 year olds, according to state health department data. Both numbers are behind the national average.

Justice encouraged children to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

Vaccination information from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is available here.