Did New York schools add a COVID-19 vaccine to the mandatory school schedule? No, that's not true. A claim warning that New York public schools have added a COVID-19 vaccination to the list of required vaccinations amid the coronavirus outbreak is false. Neither the New York State Department of Health nor the New York City Department of Education have added this vaccine requirement for students.
The claim originated from a post (archived here) that was published on Facebook on April 19, 2020. It opened:
"Months after they've removed a person's right to refuse, they have added a COVID-19 vaccine to the mandatory school schedule in New York. To be enacted the day the vaccine is approved. Are you listening?? THEY ARE MANDATING A VACCINE THAT DOESN'T EVEN EXIST YET.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
Here is the full text from the Facebook post:
Months after they've removed a person's right to refuse, they have added a COVID-19 vaccine to the mandatory school schedule in New York. To be enacted the day the vaccine is approved. Are you listening?? THEY ARE MANDATING A VACCINE THAT DOESN'T EVEN EXIST YET.
This vaccine will have had almost no safety studies conducted and is being made in synthetic human DNA which will graft with your DNA, and of course some versions in aborted human tissue. They know nothing about this vaccine's safety and efficacy, because, again, IT DOESN'T EXIST YET, but New Yorkers will have to comply or be barred from education, daycare, and employment in healthcare."
Once you surrender the control over your body, you are subject to anything they deem you should have. You think it stops at Covid-19? There are almost 300 vaccines in the pipeline right now. All subject to be forced onto us. This is America!!! Not China, and not Nazi Germany! WAKE UP!!!!
Let's break down this meme, one claim at a time:
The poster quoted "months after they've removed a person's right to refuse," which presumably is a reference to New York eliminating religious and philosophical vaccinations exemptions for children entering kindergarten in public schools.
The New York Times reported in June 2019 that after a measles outbreak the legislature stopped allowing parents to claim a religious or philosophical reason to not have their children vaccinated if they were entering kindergarten in a public school in New York. The New York Health Department confirmed the changes on their website here.
Nonmedical exemptions to school vaccination requirements have ended for children attending day care and pre-K through 12th grade in New York State. This includes all public, private, and religious schools. Religious exemptions are no longer allowed.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, claims about forced vaccinations have gone viral and this is the latest one.
According to the NYC Department of Education, a COVID-19 vaccination is not one of its required immunizations.
The current required vaccinations for all students, from those in child care through grade 12
• The DTaP (diphtheria- tetanus-pertussis),
• MMR (measles-mumps-rubella),
• Varicella, and
• Hepatitis B.
The NY State Department of Health lists its required vaccines here.
Vaccines required for day care, pre-K, and school attendance
• Diphtheria and Tetanus toxoid-containing vaccine and Pertussis vaccine (Dtap/DTP/Tdap)
• Hepatitis B vaccine
• Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine (MMR)
• Polio vaccine (IPV/OPV)
• Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine
• Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY)
• Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine (HiB)
• Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine (PCV)
LeadStories.com has reached out to both the NY Department of Health and the NYC Department of Education and will update the story if a response is received.
The Facebook post continued:
This vaccine will have had almost no safety studies conducted and is being made in synthetic human DNA which will graft with your DNA, and of course some versions in aborted human tissue.
The origin of the claim that "some versions in aborted human tissue," dates back to 1966 when cells from an aborted fetus were use to develope vaccines. An ABC News article titled What Aborted Fetuses Have to Do With Vaccines explained in 2015:
Other common vaccines, including those for chicken pox, hepatitis and rabies, are also propagated in cells originating from legally aborted human fetuses, according to the FDA.
"These abortions, which occurred decades ago, were not undertaken with the intent of producing vaccines," said a spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers Disease Control and Prevention.
The original cells were obtained more than 50 years ago and have been maintained under strict federal guidelines by the American Type Culture Collection, according to Merck.
"These cell lines are now more than three generations removed from their origin, and we have not used any new tissue to produce these vaccines," the company added in its statement.
To say that the vaccines contain a significant amount of human fetal tissue, as some objectors to the vaccines claim, is misleading, stressed Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the vaccine education center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
"There are perhaps nanograms of DNA fragments still found in the vaccine, perhaps billionths of a gram," he said. "You would find as much if you analyzed the fruits and vegetables you eat."
The Trump administration placed restrictions on tests using fetal tissue from elective abortions, as reported in TheScientist.com in 2019. Here is the press release from the Department of Health and Human Services announcing the ban. Therefore, scientists are banned from using fetal tissue from elective abortions to create a COVID-19 vaccination.
The next part of the claim stated:
They know nothing about this vaccine's safety and efficacy, because, again, IT DOESN'T EXIST YET, but New Yorkers will have to comply or be barred from education, daycare, and employment in healthcare.
It is true that a vaccination for COVID-19 does not yet exist. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes on its website there are no vaccines for coronavirus.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The World Health Organization also states on their website there are no vaccines but there are clinical trials.
At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings become available.
As of May 13, 2020, New York has not mandated that children have a COVID-19 vaccination to attend public school and there is not yet a vaccination for COVID-19.
For more about mandated vaccines, read this earlier debunk from Lead Stories titled Fact Check: Viral Meme Advising How To 'Legally Decline' A Vaccine Is NOT Accurate