By Zachary Stieber
Any state that requires COVID-19 vaccination to attend school will face a lawsuit, lawyers said this week.
The Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN), run by TV host Del Bigtree, has pledged to finance up to 50 lawsuits, Aaron Siri, who frequently represents the group, said.
“ICAN has told us it will financially support a challenge against any state. So, if all 50 states require it to attend school, ICAN will support challenging the mandate in every single one of those states,” Siri told The Epoch Times.
The process would require finding parents or others who want to challenge any mandate that arises, but the funding and legal representation for such suits are in place.
The pledge comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) advisory panel on Oct. 20 recommended adding COVID-19 vaccines to the child and adolescent immunization schedules.
The CDC still has to accept the recommendation, but is expected to do so given its stance on vaccines throughout the pandemic. The agency did not respond to a request for comment.
Some states require most vaccines on the immunization schedules for school and daycare attendance, including Virginia, though none require annual influenza vaccines for school attendance, according to Immunize.org.
Some governors and gubernatorial hopefuls have vowed to block COVID-19 vaccine mandates for children, including the governors of Florida, Colorado, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Other states are expected to mandate the vaccines, including California.
Authorities there were preparing to require the vaccines for schoolchildren but have delayed the statewide mandate until at least July 2023. Some local governments started to mandate the shots, but at least one mandate was blocked due to a legal challenge—from Siri.
The updated CDC schedules won’t take effect until 2023, and Siri expects any mandates would not take effect until the start of the 2023–2024 school year.
But the mandates would be announced well before they take effect, to give parents time to vaccinate their children.
Siri declined to speak about the basis for any challenges.
“I don’t discuss litigation strategy for potential matters,” he said.
The basis for the San Diego case was separation of powers. Plaintiffs said the mandate, which lacked religious exemptions, violated state law. Only the state legislature can impose such mandates, San Diego Superior Court Judge John Meyer ruled.
“In a long-awaited victory by those seeking to retain the right to informed consent and medical decision-making free from coercion, the Court found that it was ‘compelled’ to invalidate the mandate as the school district had no authority to implement or enforce such a requirement,” Siri wrote on his blog at the time. “The basis for this decision, that school boards in California do not have the authority to require a COVID-19 vaccine, would apply to all school boards across California that are seeking to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine.”