COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the nation's schools would be a "good thing for everybody," but they should be enacted on a local and state level and not by the federal government, Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said on Newsmax Monday.
"The way I see it is I'm in general favor of this because I have kids who go to school," Jha said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "I'd rather have them all be vaccinated when the FDA has fully approved it for kids, which it is not yet."
His comment comes after Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said this weekend on ABC News while speaking in favor of vaccine mandates that they are nothing new, as they have been in effect for decades for childhood diseases like measles, mumps, smallpox, and other diseases.
"Lots of places have vaccine mandates," Jha said, adding that it's true that COVID-19 is a much lower risk for children than diseases like smallpox or polio, but at the same risk as measles.
"My take is we should not have a lot of infectious diseases spreading around in schools if we can avoid it," said Jha. "If we have vaccines that are safe and effective, we should use them and that will reduce the amount of burden and kids the number of days kids are out of school. It's just going to be a good thing for everybody."
He also disagreed that children are "statistically" at no risk of danger from COVID-19, and added that flu shots should not be mandated, even though CDC records show children are at high risk from seasonal flu infections.
Jha noted that flu vaccines are mandated in many places, including where he works, but at the same time the shot is not as effective as the COVID-19 vaccinations that are available.
The doctor also said that he believes the COVID vaccinations will still be effective against the coronavirus and its variants by the time they're approved for children, potentially sometime next year.
"We have all these variants out there, but the vaccines still largely work," said Jha. "We were seeing this even now against the delta variant, which is pretty different than the original variant. The vaccines generate this very broad-based immunity that seems to hold up. I have to say I wasn't sure that it would hold up as well as it has...my expectation is that it will continue to hold up. But if not, we're going to have to make some tweaks to the vaccine. But I think that's unlikely. I think the current vaccines are going to hold up against the variants."
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Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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