San Fransisco will soon require children aged five and above to show proof of vaccination before entering indoor public venues.
Top health officer Dr Susan Philip said on Tuesday that the rules would be introduced following the approval and recommendation of the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine for children aged five to 11 by federal government agencies in recent days.
She told the San Fransisco Chronicle that it could be two months before the requirement is introduced, giving parents enough time to get their children protected.
“We definitely want to wait and make sure children have an opportunity to get vaccinated, no sooner than eight weeks after the vaccine is available for kids,” said Dr Philip.
“There will be a limited time where there will not be those requirements. But there will be a point where children will also have to show proof of vaccination to access some of those settings.”
On Wednesday, city officials confirmed that children aged five and above would eventually be asked to show proof of vaccination, and that San Fransisco would examine its Covid rules in the coming weeks.
“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 penalised for not having an ID,” said a spokesperson for the the San Francisco Department of Public Health to Politico.
Adults in San Fransisco are already asked to show photo ID along with a federal vaccination card or code issued by California before entering public venues.
Children aged 12 and above, meanwhile, must show proof of vaccination but are not required to show photo ID to enter spaces including gyms, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
Neither are students in California required to show proof of vaccination to attend classes, although that is expected to change next year when a mandate issued by governor Gavin Newsom is phased-in.
Recommending Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for children above the age of five, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it was crucial for wellbeing.
“[The risk] is too high and too devastating to our children and far higher than for many other diseases for which we vaccinate children”,said Rochelle Walensky of children falling ill from Covid and school closures.
“Paediatric vaccination has the power to help us change all of that”.