Capital Clicks

Legislature prohibits COVID-19 vaccine mandates for K-12 school, college, licensed child care

By: - May 24, 2022 12:45 pm

Iowa schools and licensed care centers would be barred for requiring COVID-19 vaccines under a bill on the way to the governor's desk. (Photo via Getty Images)

Iowa children will not face a requirement to be vaccinated for COVID-19 for attendance in school, college or a child care center under a bill that is headed to the governor’s desk.

The bill would not allow mandates for attendance at any licensed child care center, elementary or secondary school or postsecondary school before July 1, 2029.

“I think it’s a continuation of the pattern of bills of trying to defend the individual from mandates,” Sen. Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, said. He noted lawmakers had previously addressed vaccine mandates and mask requirements related to COVID-19 in schools and the workplace.

The bill addresses only the coronavirus vaccines, but Democrats argued the legislation would undermine parents’ confidence in other effective and well-established vaccines such as those against polio, measles, mumps, rubella and other infectious childhood diseases.

“This is dangerous legislation, when you raise the idea that COVID-19 vaccinations are not effective and haven’t worked,” Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, said. “More than 1.9 million Iowans are fully vaccinated and thank God they are or we’d have a lot more fatality in Iowa, we would have a lot more death and sickness in Iowa, if they had your view on this.”

Schultz said he does not believe the bill has a bearing on other required vaccines, which “are in place and nobody’s hollering.”

Republican senators voted 29-16 to approve House File 2298. The bill passed the House Feb. 28 on a vote of 57-36. The bill needs Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signature to become law.

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Kathie Obradovich
Kathie Obradovich

Editor Kathie Obradovich has been covering Iowa government and politics for more than 30 years, most recently as political columnist and opinion editor for the Des Moines Register. She previously covered the Iowa Statehouse for 10 years for newspapers in Davenport, Waterloo, Sioux City, Mason City and Muscatine.