Students offered vaccine prizes as lawmakers debate requirements

Connecticut bill would end religious exemptions for vaccines in schools, while other states move to bar mandates
By: | April 27, 2021

One high school student in Missoula, Montana, will win an e-bike in a local contest urging teens to get the COVID vaccine.

The e-bike is the grand prize, but other inoculated students will win scholarships, computer gaming packages and Chromebooks in the “#406vaxxedandproud” vaccination promotion launched by the Missoula Education Foundation.

The community’s goal is to get 75% of residents fully vaccinated to meet that goal. Currently, 55.4 % of Missoula County residents and 30% of 16-18-year-olds are vaccinated, the foundation says.

The #406vaxxedandproud campaign is just one example of how some districts are encouraging students to get vaccinated as lawmakers debate whether to require vaccines for students and others.

In Connecticut, for example, the state’s House of Representatives last week approved a bill that would end religious exemptions for vaccines in schools, The Hartford Courant reported.

In a compromise, students who have already been given exemptions could keep this, according to the Courant. 

Missouri lawmakers have proposed a bill that would require COVID vaccines for schools and daycare centers, USA Today reported.

In Kansas, a proposed law would prohibit state health officials from mandating vaccines in schools, reserving that power for the state legislature, according to USA Today. 

And a proposed bill in Iowa would bar schools—along with government facilities and businesses—from denying entry to any unvaccinated person, RadioIowa reported.

More from DA: How 3 districts are vaccinating eligible high school students