Fox Lake state representative files bill to prohibit student COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Move inspired by California’s recent controversial requirement for shots to go to class

Republican 64th Senate District candidate Tom Weber answers a question during a meeting with the Northwest Herald Editorial Board on Monday in Crystal Lake.

State Rep. Tom Weber, R-Fox Lake, filed a bill that if approved, would prohibit the Illinois Department of Public Health from requiring schoolchildren to be vaccinated against COVID-19, he announced Monday.

The move was inspired by a controversial plan issued earlier this month by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of inoculations required to attend school in-person once a vaccine receives full approval from the Food and Drug Administration for middle and high schoolers, according to a news release issued by Weber’s office.

Weber represents House District 64, which stretches from Bull Valley in the west, along Crystal Lake’s northern edge and into Lake Villa in Lake County.

“A blanket mandate as the one recently imposed in California would be a gross overstep on the part of Governor Pritzker or his administration,” Weber said in the release. “He’s made it clear he is willing to overstep his authority over the past 18 months, which is why it is imperative to get ahead of any possible future mandate.”

The proposed legislation, House Bill 4174, would prevent students from being required to submit proof of immunization against COVID-19 upon enrolling in school. It would also stop a child already enrolled in school from being required to receive an immunization against COVID-19.

Weber is recruiting co-sponsors and pushing for the bill to be heard during the state government’s veto session, which starts Tuesday.

“With COVID-19, parents should be making medical decisions for their families, not the Governor or IDPH,” Weber said in the release. “If you want your child to be vaccinated, that is a decision for you as a parent and you alone. The government has no right to step in and act as a parent in regards to children’s medical decisions on COVID-19.”