Oklahoma law forbids K-12 vaccine requirements

By: | June 3, 2021

Oklahoma became the first state to enact legislation banning K-12 vaccine requirements. Michigan and Pennsylvania lawmakers have advanced bills to do the same — marking the start of a trend vaccine policy experts say is largely symbolic, but could still hamper the campaign to conquer COVID-19.

Oklahoma’s prohibition on vaccine mandates covers not just K-12 schools, but colleges, universities and career and technical centers. While more than 400 higher education institutions across the country have announced an immunization requirement for the fall, Oklahoma is one out of only 15 states without a college or university on that list.

Unlike post-secondary institutions, K-12 school districts do not have the legal grounding to mandate vaccines. Even before Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the law, no public schools in his state — or any other, for that matter — were able to mandate COVID vaccines.

“The list of vaccines required for school is already set in the law. So you’d have to change the law anyway [before adding COVID vaccines],” UC Hastings law professor Dorit Reiss told The 74.

Read more from The 74.

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