JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – As illness spreads throughout local schools, some fear a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students could be on the horizon. However, Chautauqua County’s representative in Washington is standing against the idea.
Congressman Joe Sempolinski tells us he disagrees with new recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the COVID-19 vaccine should be included in routinely scheduled immunizations for school-aged children.
“Parents know what is best for their children,“ explained Congressman Sempolinski. “Not a Washington Bureaucrat. And it’s very clear that we learned that during the COVID pandemic that decisions that come from Washington were not necessarily made with children’s best interests in mind.”
In 2021, New York State required proof of COVID vaccination or a negative test status for educators statewide. However, a full vaccine mandate for public schools did not roll out.
Nevertheless, Governor Kathy Hochul hinted during this week’s gubernatorial debate that she would consider such an act, if it were to be passed by the state’s legislature.
“COVID is still a threat, but now we have the new vaccine, the bivalent booster is especially effective against Omicron. Here’s what I have to make sure people don’t think. If you got your shot, if you got your booster a while back, you got it last year, I’m all good. No, no, you need to get it updated,” said Hochul.
While Congressman Sempolinski mirrors the Governors thoughts on the effectiveness of the shot, he however believes mandating the vaccine is not the way to go.
“I’m not opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine,“ explained Congressman Sempolinski. “If you want to get vaccinated, or you want your children to be vaccinated, that’s also your decision, and it should be available to you.”
In the end, Governor Hochul believes that this virus is unpredictable and we all should try to stay safe and healthy.
“What we’ve learned from this pandemic is you just never can tell,“ stated Governor Hochul. “This time last year we were going through Delta, never saw Omicron on the horizon until March, until November 26th, and then it hit us harder than anywhere else, so we’re always watching.”
A federal advisory group moved forward the nationwide recommendation for school children, the CDC is expected to adopt that ordinance. Implementation of this new order however, would be up to individual states whether or not they would enact it.