Jeff Landry

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry speaks during a town hall meeting held at North Park in Denham Springs on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020.

Attorney General Jeff Landry has spoken out against a proposal from the Louisiana Department of Health to require the COVID-19 vaccine for some Louisiana students, a proposal he called the latest example of “government abuse and bullying.”

The proposal from the Department of Health would add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required shots for students 16 and up, a proposal Gov. John Bel Edwards recently said he supports.

In a nearly 2-minute video posted on his social media feeds, Landry voiced his opposition to the proposed mandate, saying “coercion is not consent.”

In the video, Landry said he sent a letter to LDH “informing them of the fatal flaws that exist with this attempted rule.” He also said he has sent instructions to the Legislature “on how to curtail this latest overreach and abuse by the governor.”

“It is my hope that our elected representatives act in the protection of our medical freedom,” Landry said.

Despite appearing together in a press conference during the early days of the public health emergency, Edwards and Landry have been at odds for much of the pandemic.

Edwards has stood by his restrictions, saying they’ve lessened the strain on Louisiana’s healthcare system, saved lives, and are backed by health experts, both in Louisiana and nationwide.

Landry has argued that Edwards’ measures have been too restrictive and infringe on individual rights. He has even issued advisory opinions in lawsuits against the governor’s COVID-19 restrictions.

With a proposed vaccine mandate for students up in the air, the two are at odds once again.

Edwards, who has sided with LDH on most topics pertaining to the pandemic, voiced his support for the proposed mandate during a child vaccine event Sunday in Baton Rouge. The governor said the mandate would only apply to age groups that are fully approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which currently includes ages 16 and older.

He also said all the current opt-out provisions surrounding other required vaccines would pertain to the COVID-19 shots, as well.

“It would be totally, I think, inappropriate, unfortunate and dangerous to not add the COVID vaccines fully licensed by the FDA to the schedule,” Edwards said last weekend.

In his video posted to social media this week, Landry doubled down on his position that “medical decisions… should be made by parents.”

“Whether it is an illegal mandate by the president or an overreach by the governor, our office will stand up to government abuse and bullying,” Landry said. “To the president and the governor: Coercion is not consent. Medical decisions for our children should be made by parents, not bureaucrats.”

The state’s Health and Welfare Committee will review the LDH proposal on Dec. 6.

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