RELEASE: Schmidt: No government mandates for Kansas students to get COVID vaccine, ‘not on my watch’

Kelly vetoed legislation that would have prohibited state from adding COVID vaccine to required school inoculation schedule

TOPEKA – (October 22, 2022) – Kansas Attorney General and Republican Nominee for Governor Derek Schmidt today pledged to prevent any COVID vaccine mandate for children to attend schools in Kansas should he be elected Governor. 

“The choice to give a child the COVID vaccine should be made by that child’s parents and the parents alone,” Schmidt said. “No Kansas student will ever be forced to receive a COVID vaccine in order to attend school – not on my watch.” 

The statement comes in light of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voting this past week to add the vaccine to the children inoculation schedule despite a lack of long-term testing data and COVID vaccines only receiving emergency use authorization for children and not full FDA approval. 

Schmidt had previously criticized the proposed ACIP action in a social media post, and yesterday after the Biden administration’s action became official he joined with other state attorneys general in formally objecting to it.

Schmidt today also reiterated his support for legislation passed earlier this year but vetoed by Governor Kelly that would have prohibited the KDHE Secretary from adding any requirement to the state schedule for enrollment in daycare or schools for a vaccine that does not have full FDA approval. 

Because of Kelly’s veto, there is no measure in Kansas law that prevents her KDHE Secretary from following the Biden administration’s orders and adding a COVID vaccine requirement for enrollment in Kansas schools.  The Legislature did prohibit any state agency from using funds to require proof of COVID vaccination through a budget proviso for FY2022, but that prohibition expired on July 1 of this year and was not included in the FY2023 budget. Schmidt said he would reinsert the provision in his budget proposal in January.