‘How is this not the biggest story in America right now?’
California Governor Gavin Newsom has come under fire for delaying his own teenage daugher’s Covid-19 vaccination while fuming at the lagging vaccination rate in those aged 12-17, and pushing for the broad vaccine mandate.
Conservatives have been up in arms over the recent report that Newsom’s 12-year-old daughter has yet to get her Covid-19 jab despite her father publicly encouraging parents to vaccinate their children even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to fully greenlight the immunization.
Newsom told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that his daughter, who turned 12 last month, has not yet received the vaccine because she was scheduled for “a series of other shots.” However, on Saturday, the Washington Examiner reported that the governor’s office told the publication that the 12-year-old would receive her Covid-19 vaccine shot “in a few days.”
The revelation has prompted Newsom’s detractors to accuse him of double standards. “So typical of Gavin Newsom. “Rules for thee but not for me!”” one critic tweeted.
Last Friday, Newsom announced that vaccines will be mandatory for kids between 7th and 12th grade, aged between 12 and 17 years, once the FDA fully approves the jab. So far, Pfizer-BioTech’s Covid-19 vaccine is the only one available for children in the US. The jab received emergency authorization to be used on children 12 through 15 in May, and the FDA’s full approval for the age group is still pending.
California’s statewide mandate for school children is expected to come into force in January at the earliest. It will still allow parents to opt out of the vaccination program for their children, citing personal and religious beliefs in addition to medical exemptions. While Newsom portrayed his mandate as being “about keeping our kids safe,” children are extremely unlikely to develop complications as a result of Covid-19. Across the US, only 406 individuals aged between five and 18 died as a result of the disease.
While touting the statewide mandate for school children as a first for the US, Newsom said he hopes that the move would ramp up lagging vaccination rates among teens.
“From 12 to 17, we’re not where we need to be, and so we hope this encourages folks to get vaccinated,” Newsom said. At least 63.5 % of Californians aged 12-17 have received their first Covid-19 dose.
It’s not the first time California’s governor has courted controversy for seemingly defying his own recommendations and Covid-19 policy. In February, he was seen dining indoors despite the state’s strictest lockdown restrictions that prohibited all indoor dining. In November last year, he was forced to apologize for visiting a restaurant with people from other households contrary to his own safety guidelines. “I want to apologize to you because I need to preach and practice, not just preach and not practice, and I’ve done my best to do that,” Newsom said at the time.