Beijing education regulator dismisses rumors of forcing kids to receive COVID-19 vaccines before new semester
Published: Feb 13, 2022 07:41 PM

Medical staff give COVID-19 vaccines  to students in Kunming,  Yunnan Province on ?November 6, 2021.

Medical staff give COVID-19 vaccines to students in Kunming, Yunnan Province on November 6, 2021.


Beijing education authorities issued a clarification on Sunday to dismiss rumors that some schools and kindergartens in the capital city are allegedly forcing students to get the COVID-19 vaccine before coming to the campus for a new semester. 

The statement came after some netizens swarmed the comment section of the Beijing Municipal Education Commission's social media account, asking for an explanation over some campuses' controversial policies on persuading students to get inoculated. 

For example, Wang, a mom of a 4-year-old kindergarten kid from Beijing's Fengtai District, told the Global Times on Sunday that the commission never released notice to force students to receive vaccines. But she was told by teachers from the kindergarten that if students choose not to receive vaccines, they must present proof of nucleic acid testing every 48 hours, otherwise they won't be allowed to enter campus, unless they present a certificate from a hospital proving that their kids are not suitable for inoculation. 

The commission responded on Sunday that such "policies" are "misunderstandings," stressing that its top priority is the security and health of children when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination is based on a voluntary basis. The commission said it objects to making vaccination a prerequisite for children to receive education.

Some acknowledged the commission's quick response to the controversy on Sina Weibo, showing understanding toward their efforts in promoting vaccination rate as it is an essential method for the country to build human herd barrier and combat the epidemic.

While some called on the commission to inspect if there are any improper behaviors of some schools and kindergartens forbidding unvaccinated kids to enter school campuses. Some parents reached by the Global Times on Sunday said they were worried that the schools might offer options for unvaccinated students to enter the campus but those options are not feasible to implement.

Despite that COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective in children, many parents still hesitate to take their kids to get a shot as they still have some concerns and believe there is no urgency for kids to receive vaccines.

A total of 58.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Beijing as of Saturday, with a total of 22.6 million people vaccinated, official data showed. 

Liu Changsong, a lawyer with Beijing Mugong Law Firm, told the Global Times previously that depriving rights of students to receive education in excuse of failing to receive vaccines violates the Compulsory Education Law as the law protects the rights of students to receive education. Vaccination should be voluntary, which means individual choices must be respected and any special cases given a priority, radical and one-size-fits-all approaches are not proper, Liu said.

Previously, some cities in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region banned students from entering school campuses if their parents do not receive COVID-19 vaccines. The move soon sparked an uproar online and local education authorities later responded that the rule would not be enforced.