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UPDATE, Oct. 25, 10:45AM: This report has been updated to include additional states that have indicated they will not mandate COVID-19 vaccines for children.

(LifeSiteNews) – More than a dozen states so far have announced they will not comply with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC’s) decision last week to add COVID-19 vaccination to the 2023 childhood immunization schedule for enrollment in public education.

The CDC’s 15-member Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted unanimously last week to add the Moderna, Pfizer, and NovaVax COVID shots to the recommended immunization schedules for children and adults ages six months old and up. The decision does not itself mandate the shots, but provides a basis for states to do so. 

On Friday, journalist Margaret Menge published a tally of 12 states so far who have said they will not add the COVID shots to their school vaccination requirements, including 10 governed by Republicans and, interestingly, two with Democrat leaders.

The Republican-led states are Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia. The Democrat states are Colorado and Connecticut. Many states laws are currently written, however, in a way that merely mandates whatever shots the CDC adds to the schedule.

Colorado’s governor, Jared Polis, has pushed and enforced other vaccine mandates, but in December 2021 said that “you can’t at the end of the day, force people to do something they don’t want to do.”

The Daily Caller adds that another five Republican-led states – Arkansas, Montana, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wyoming – have either said or written into law that COVID shots will not be mandated for education enrollment.

READ: Vaccine maker destroys 100 million doses of COVID shots due to low demand

Additionally, Menge notes that 10 Republican candidates for governor have declared they will not mandate the vaccines for school children if elected: Lee Zeldin in New York, Darren Bailey in Illinois, Heidi Ganahl in Colorado, Kari Lake in Arizona, Bob Stefanowski in Connecticut, Tudor Dixon in Michigan, Tim Michels in Wisconsin, Dan Cox in Maryland, Derek Schmidt in Kansas, and Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania.

The COVID-19 vaccines remain as controversial as ever for a variety of reasons.

Many harbor moral reservations about the use of aborted fetal cells in the COVID vaccines’ development, as well as grave concerns about the necessity and safety of the shots given the superiority of natural immunity, COVID’s low risk to most otherwise-healthy individuals, the vaccines’ failure to prevent infection, their accelerated development under former President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed initiative giving them only a fraction of the evaluation and development time vaccines normally take, the lack of transparency from their manufacturers, and mounting evidence of serious adverse effects.

This March, it was found that 11,289 cases of pericarditis/myocarditis after COVID vaccination were reported to the U.S. government’s federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) between January 1 and February 25 of this year, which was already 47% of the 24,177 reports for the same submitted in all of 2021. An April study out of Israel indicates that COVID infection alone cannot account for such cases, despite claims to the contrary.

COVID shot defenders claim that VAERS offers an exaggerated view of a vaccine’s potential risks, as anyone can submit a report without vetting it, but CDC researchers have acknowledged “high verification rate of reports of myocarditis to VAERS after mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination,” leading to the conclusion that “under-reporting is more likely” than over-reporting.

Further, VAERS is not the only data source indicating cause for concern. Data from the Pentagon’s Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED) has been similarly alarming, showing that 2021 saw drastic spikes in a variety of diagnoses for serious medical issues over the previous five-year average, including hypertension (2,181%), neurological disorders (1,048%), multiple sclerosis (680%), Guillain-Barre syndrome (551%), breast cancer, (487%), female infertility (472%), pulmonary embolism (468%), migraines (452%), ovarian dysfunction (437%), testicular cancer (369%), and tachycardia (302%).

Last month, the Japanese Society for Vaccinology published a peer-reviewed study conducted by researchers from Stanford, UCLA, and the University of Maryland, which found that the “Pfizer trial exhibited a 36% higher risk of serious adverse events in the vaccine group” while the “Moderna trial exhibited a 6% higher risk of serious adverse events in the vaccine group,” for a combined “16% higher risk of serious adverse events in mRNA vaccine recipients.”

Such concerns are especially acute for young and otherwise-healthy people who face the least risk from COVID-19. Last summer, a team of researchers with Johns Hopkins School of Medicine “analyze[d] approximately 48,000 children under 18 diagnosed with Covid in health-insurance data from April to August 2020,” and found a “mortality rate of zero among children without a pre-existing medical condition such as leukemia.”

By contrast, even experts otherwise friendly to the COVID shots have recognized that the potential for vaccine-related myocarditis among young males undermines the public health establishment’s persistent refrain that “the benefits of [COVID-19] vaccination far outweigh any harm.”