San Francisco officials will soon be requiring anyone in the city five years old and older to present proof of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to participate in public life including dining out, attending professional sports games, and going to theaters or gyms.
Specifically, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday, the requirement will soon apply to kids between 5 and 11 now that the Food and Drug Administration has signed off on COVID vaccines for children their age.
The city has been requiring everyone aged 12 and older to show vaccine proof to participate in public since August, becoming the first major city in the U.S. to do so.
Dr. Susan Philip, San Fran’s top public health official, said during a meeting Tuesday with parents of younger children she expected the order will be coming in the next few months after allowing time for the 5-11 age group to get fully vaccinated. The Pfizer vaccine, which has been authorized for kids that young, provides full vaccination two weeks after the second dose. Injections are to be given around three weeks apart.
“We definitely want to wait and make sure children have an opportunity to get vaccinated, no sooner than eight weeks after the vaccine is available for kids,” Philip told the parents, according to the Chronicle. “There will be a limited time where there will not be those requirements. But there will be a point where children will also have to show proof of vaccination to access some of those settings.”
Under the current mandates, adults must show proof of vaccination in the form of a federal vax card or a picture of it, or a digital code issued by the state of California in order to get into certain venues and establishments. Children won’t be required to show IDs because they may or may not carry one. Also, the paper said, kids who are 12 and older are also not required to show a photo ID.
The city’s adult mandate “applies to restaurants and bars; gyms, yoga and dance studios, and other fitness centers; and entertainment venues that serve food and beverages, including theaters,” the paper reported. Anyone who is dining outdoors does not have to be vaccinated.
Right now, students in the city aren’t required to be vaccinated so they can attend school in person. But Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has already issued an executive order that will take effect in stages next year mandating vaccines throughout the state; elementary school children most likely will not be affected until July or August.
During a White House pandemic briefing on Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky recommended that even children who have had COVID-19 already should still be vaccinated.
“And so we absolutely recommend that children, even children who have had the disease before, get vaccinated,” she said.
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