Well here’s a first.

All students in the Hoboken school district 12 years old and up will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19. If they’re not, the alternative is weekly testing. The Hoboken school district is thought to be the first in the state to pull this move.

In addition, kids under 12 in that district will be randomly tested weekly since there’s no authorized vaccine for that age group.

I was surprised to see this as I didn’t know a school district could require vaccines on their own and expand beyond the list of vaccines the state requires. The state currently requires for k-12: polio, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), chickenpox, hepatitis b, meningococcal and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis).

Some NJ lawmakers have spoken in favor of the state requiring a COVID vaccine for students. Last winter State Sen. Joe Vitale said he was in favor of it but last month backed off that push for now. Assemblyman Herb Conaway, who is a physician and has already pushed legislation for requiring flu shots for students, says he trusts the COVID vaccine. “There have been no shortcuts taken in respect to safety of this vaccine in terms of the science. I think people should take comfort in that,” he said late last year.

Seems wrong in my gut that vaccines could be left up to local rule. Should one district be allowed to mandate Gardisil to prevent the sexually transmitted HPV that causes cervical cancer? Should another be allowed to mandate a pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine to prevent pneumonia?

Now you can argue what Hoboken is doing isn’t mandating a vaccine but rather mandating a choice. Get your kid vaccinated or have them take a COVID test every single week.

Where will this be done? Nurse’s office at school? Will it be a rapid result test? Or will it be rendered pointless by having the child attend classes for three days before getting back a positive result? Who will pay for these test, the parents or the taxpayers?

Then there’s this business of kids under age 12 being subjected to “random” weekly testing. If you’re not testing all students every week and only certain ones, how is this really about safety? Random drug testing has always been so kids would be kept on their toes and be given a disincentive for using illegal drugs. What’s the point here of making it random? A cost savings? Harassment in general?

Ultimately if we’re going to decide this is important enough for students to be vaccinated it should be statewide or if shouldn’t be at all.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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