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North Dakota won’t require coronavirus vaccines for school children, Governor Doug Burgum says

The tweet from the Republican governor came after the CDC recommended adding the shot to the vaccine schedule for children and adults.

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Gov. Doug Burgum speaks to state agency leaders about budget requests at the North Dakota Capitol on May 5, 2022.
Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service
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BISMARCK — North Dakota’s governor says the state will not require children to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, tweeted on Saturday, Oct. 22, he believes parents and families should decide if their children need the vaccine.

“North Dakota’s immunization requirements are set by state law, not the CDC,” Burgum tweeted, in part. “They do not — and will not — include the COVID-19 vaccine.”

The tweet was in response to recommendations made Thursday by the Centers for Control and Disease Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices , a group of medical and public health experts, to add the coronavirus shot to the vaccine schedule for adults and children.

“CDC only makes recommendations for use of vaccines, while school-entry vaccination requirements are determined by state or local jurisdictions,” a news release from the CDC said Thursday. “It’s important to note that there are no changes in COVID-19 vaccine policy, and today’s action simply helps streamline clinical guidance for healthcare providers by including all currently licensed, authorized and routinely recommended vaccines in one document.”

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North Dakota requires a number of vaccines for children to enter school, but not one for the coronavirus. It’s unclear whether the North Dakota Legislature will take up action regarding the shot.

The governor supports existing immunization required by state law, but he would not support a bill that would propose adding COVID-19 vaccines to the list of required shot for North Dakota school children, his spokesman Mike Nowatzki said in a statement to The Forum.

Burgum joins a number of Republican governors who have been vocal against requiring children to get the vaccine. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem used Twitter to say her Democratic opponent, South Dakota state Rep. Jamie Smith, supports legislation that would require the coronavirus shot for school-aged children.

“I will never force kids to get COVID vaccines to attend school,” Noem said. “And I will fight the federal government if they try to.”

Other Republican governors who voiced opposition to a vaccine requirement for students included Ron DeSantis of Florida, Greg Gianforte of Montana, Mark Gordon of Wyoming and Kim Reynolds of Iowa.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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