Will eligible students be required to get the COVID vaccine?

With vaccines like measles and rubella being a decades-old requirement for students, many are wondering whether eligible students should be required to get the COVID vaccine.

FOX 32 Chicago spoke with the head of the Infectious Diseases Division at UI Health about this possibility.

"I feel very strongly that there should be a vaccine mandate for children returning to school," said Dr. Richard Novak, Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at UI Health.

Novak says that's not only to protect the child, but to protect those around them.

"We're seeing some breakthrough cases now of people who were vaccinated months ago, particularly among the elderly and people with chronic illness, so kids going to school, picking up COVID, and bringing it home to their grandparents is still a concern," Novak said.

One hold-up for the vaccines being required for students could be full FDA approval, as opposed to their current 'emergency-use authorization' status.


"The FDA is continuing to collect safety information and efficacy information over time as the studies of the vaccines are continuing to roll out. We're participating in those studies and we're continuing to collect data," Novak said.

But while that approval is pending and expected in the coming weeks, Novak says the vaccines have already proven to be safe.

"180 million [Americans have been vaccinated.] How many more do you want to see before you're convinced that the vaccine is safe?" Novak said.

"We're never going to see the end of this pandemic," Novak said. "This virus is going to continue to circulate as long as we have segments of the population that don't get vaccinated."