No public or private school, college or university, nor any licensed child care center in the state of Iowa will be able to require anyone attending it — from preschooler to graduate student — to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under a bill Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law on Tuesday.
The CDC currently recommends everyone 5 years old and older be vaccinated against the virus.
The governor did not issue a statement regarding the ban on COVID-19 vaccination requirements. Instead, HF 2298 was just listed along with nine other bills in a news release titled “Gov. Reynolds signs several bills into law.” The governor’s office waited until almost 5:30 p.m. before sending out that release.
HF 2298 passed through the legislature on a series of party-line votes. The bill’s manager in the Iowa Senate, Republican Jason Schultz of Schleswig, said when the bill was before the Senate Judiciary Committee it was necessary, “because we have to move past this, and we have to get past the semi-quasi-science clergy who have turned what used to be a respected industry, the science industry, into more a club to beat people over the head.”
According to Schultz, “We need to put to rest that the COVID vaccine is an effective and safe vaccine. It is an attempt that didn’t work.”
None of Schultz’s Republican colleagues attempted to correct his false claim about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Gov. Reynolds has expressed her own private confidence in the vaccines for herself and her family, but has said that whether a person is vaccinated should be left up to individual choice. She has opposed vaccination mandates – joining several lawsuits against the Biden administration over its attempts to establish federal vaccine mandates – and has been an opponent of private businesses establishing COVID-19 vaccine requirement for employees.
Prior to signing HF 2298 into law on Tuesday, the governor had made no public comments on the bill.
The new ban does not apply to any of the state’s other vaccination requirements. Those requirements start at 4 months of age, for children attending any licensed child care center in the state. By the age of 4 months children enrolled in licensed center must have one dose of vaccines against diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis, polio, haemophilus influenzae type B and pneumococcal. Additional vaccinations are required after the ages of 6 months, 1 year, 19 months and 2 years.
Children enrolled in K-12 schools are required to have multiple vaccinations against six different diseases. The Iowa Board of Regents, which already prohibited the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations, still required any enrolling at the three universities to submit documentation showing they have had two MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccinations.
The ban on vaccine requirements for COVID-19 established by HF 2298 will be in effect until July 1, 2029.