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SAN FRANCISCO – California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday that his state will become the first to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for schoolchildren.

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The governor said the requirement will go into effect once the vaccines have full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Our schools already require vaccines for measles, mumps and more,” he wrote in a tweet announcing the decision. “Why? Because vaccines work. This is about keeping our kids safe (and) healthy.”

The statewide mandate will go into effect for students in grades 7 through 12 beginning the semester after the FDA gives full approval of the vaccine to children aged 12 and older, The Los Angeles Times reported. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade will be phased into the mandate after the vaccine is fully approved for younger children, the newspaper reported.

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According to the Times, students who are unvaccinated will be able to instead be homeschooled or enrolled in fully online schools or independent-student programs offered by school districts.

In August, the FDA granted full approval of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech for use in people aged 16 and older. The vaccine is available to children as young as 12 under an emergency use authorization.

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According to California health officials, most children between the ages of 12 and 17 have gotten at least one COVID-19 shot. Just over 55% of the state’s 3.1 million children who fall in that age range have been fully vaccinated.

Nationwide, 14.4 million children between the ages of 12 and 17 have gotten at least one vaccine dose, including 11.7 million who are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.