Hochul: Vaccine mandates for students are possible

Gov. Kathy Hochul said vaccine mandates for students are not out of the question.

Now that an FDA panel has recommended Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 through 11 years old, the governor said the state is getting ready to get shots into arms. Hochul said more than 380,000 vaccines are on the way to New York for kids in that age range.

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She added 350 school districts have committed to hosting vaccine clinics already, and added that making the COVID vaccine a requirement is not out of the question, much like other mandatory vaccines already in place for students.

"As I said all along, I want to empower parents and the schools to do the right thing first," said Hochul. "But if we’re not seeing adequate compliance, or we’re seeing the numbers start going up, this is what we’re monitoring closely. If I start seeing infection rate going up, hospitalizations going up, more children being affected, I will have no choice," the governor said.

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Hochul also said she’s frustrated about fake information floating around on social media that encourages people to not get vaccinated.

New York state is only about 3% away from meeting the governor’s vaccination goal. Hochul says 86.8% of New Yorkers ages 18 and older have had at least one shot. Her goal is 90%.