California parents to protest school vaccine mandates by keeping kids home Monday

Students across California may be staying home Monday protesting Gov. Gavin Newsom's recent COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Earlier this month, California became the first state to announce that the COVID-19 vaccine would be mandatory for all school students in the state once a shot is fully approved.

RELATED: California to require eligible students in public, private schools be vaccinated against COVID-19

All California schoolchildren who attend school in person will be required to get the shot. Enforcement could begin as early as January and at the latest July.

Newsom's announcement has caused concern among some parents. Many social media posts circulated about a campaign to keep kids home from school, including in Fresno.

Parents in support of the vaccine say students are already required to get immunized for ten other serious diseases to attend school in California, and they believe this is no different.

RELATED: Local parents split on governor's mandate requiring all students receive COVID-19 vaccine

Meanwhile, parents joining the protest haven't given up.

"We know that if our children stay home from school that that will impact the funding that schools will get for that day, and we want them to know that we're serious about not being forced to vaccinate our children," said parent Babe Prieto, who supports the walkout.

In the Clovis Unified School District, administrators notified parents of the mandate on October 1. The state has not released a clear date of the implication.

"A lot of people think we're anti-vaccine, we're anti-mask," says Clovis Unified parent Sean Sores. "We're freedom to choose what's best for us. It's not a one size fits all type of thing."

Medical and religious belief exemptions will be allowed, but the rules for how the state would apply them have not been written yet.

In addition to keeping kids home from school, the social media posts called for various protests. Thousands are expected to gather at the state capitol.

Dr. Jesus Rodriguez with Kaiser Permanente believes the COVID vaccine is not only effective but also safe for both children and adults.

"This vaccine is no different than other vaccines in terms that it helps our bodies make antibodies against the thing we're trying to fight," he said. "It's not changing our body in any way." It's not doing anything different in terms of just making antibodies."

Locally, protesters gathered outside of the Fresno County Department of Public Health late Monday morning.

In California, 85% of eligible residents have now received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, a statistic Governor Newsom credits with getting the state to the lowest 7-day case rate in the country.

Our sister station KGO-TV in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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