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Hochul on vaccine mandate for schools: "I would not rule that out"

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Posted at 4:09 PM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 16:16:19-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Governor Kathy Hochul was in Western New York Wednesasdy, updating New Yorkers from ECMC on COVID-19.

The governor, focusing much of her message on vaccinations in children.

“I want to see a higher number of children vaccinated,” she said.

So far in the state, the governor says 15.4% of kids ages 5-11 have received both COVID shots. 65.8% in the 12-17 year age group are fully vaccinated.

“There’s time now while they’re on school break,” she said. “It’s the best Christmas gift you can give them is to give them the gift of health.”

The governor, also reacting to new guidelines for games at Highmark Stadium and KeyBank Center, requiring vaccination for anyone ages 5-11.

“If that’s the incentive to get more people vaccinated, that’s a really positive thing,” she said.

We asked the Governor if there are any plans to require vaccination for all New York State students, now that each age group is eligible.

“Right now, we don’t have the authority to do that,” she said. “It has to be passed by the legislature. Every state is different but New York State would have to have it on an approved list that the legislature actually has to consider so that could not possibly happen at this time. It would have to happen for next fall—so it’s absolutely something we’re looking at,” she said.

Hochul says it will be something that’s considered if the virus rages on.

“Let’s see what happens with this. Is this going to be yesterday’s news in a few months? Or are we going to be dealing with new variants all the time. I want to retain the flexibility but I would not rule it out,” she said. “I’ll just say I would not rule that out.”