On Monday, September 27th, the Maryland Senate’s Vaccine Oversight Workgroup convened a meeting in which Maryland Department of Health (MDH) Secretary Dennis Schrader said a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for schoolchildren is not under consideration. The declaration came during an exchange between Secretary Schrader and State Senator Clarence K. Lam (District 12, Baltimore and Howard Counties).
In video of the meeting (beginning at 27:23), Senator Lam began his line of questioning by asking what measures MDH has taken to boost vaccination rates among schoolchildren ages 12 and older. The Senator noted case rates among all age groups are highest among those between 0 and 19 years old. Soon thereafter, vaccination requirements became the topic of conversation:
Senator Lam said, “In particular for vaccination, you do have the tool to be able to require vaccination of students going into schools… Is that something that you’re looking at?” In response, Secretary Schrader said, “Not at the moment, but you raise an interesting question. Are you advocating that we would make the [COVID-19 vaccine] a part of the required vaccination regiment within schools?
Secretary Schrader suggested MDH would revisit Senator Lam’s mandate suggestion after addressing MDH’s primary focus of increasing routine vaccination rates among schoolchildren. In a discussion with State Senator Ronald N. Young (District 3, Frederick County), Secretary Schrader said MDH has been reluctant to force individuals to take certain COVID-19 related precautions recommended by the Senator, including vaccinations.