San Francisco is set to be the first state in the United States to require children as young as 5 to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination to enter certain indoor public spaces such as restaurants, entertainment venues and sporting events, public officials announced this week.
Currently, the local mandate already requires children and adults over the age of 12 to present a valid vaccine passport before entering the listed places. However, city health officials are planning to extend the current health order to children ages 5 to 11, the group which is newly eligible for the jab.
San Francisco Health Officer Susan Philip said that the requirement won’t be active for at least two months.
In a town hall meeting on Tuesday about youth vaccinations, Philip said: “We definitely want to wait and make sure children have an opportunity to get vaccinated, so that will happen no sooner than about eight weeks after the vaccine is available for kids.”
In California, vaccinations of the younger age group started, the same day West Coast scientific experts announced that they authorised the use of the Pfizer covid vaccine for children ages 5-11 – also a day after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended a reduced dose for kids. The paediatric vaccine is a third of the adult dose, and like the adult formation, is given in two doses, 21 days apart.
Officials from the San Francisco Department of Public Health announced on Wednesday that the plan would be going ahead, stating that the city’s current covid requirements – which includes vaccinations and face masks – will be re-examined once the younger children have been given adequate time to get the injection.
“As with children 12-17 who may not have personal identification, we will follow the same approach with the younger kids such that they would not be penalized for not having an ID,” a spokesperson from the department wrote in an email.