Los Angeles has become the first major school system in the United States to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for all students 12 and older. Polls show, however, that many parents are reluctant to have their children vaccinated, and some may decide to keep their children home for online learning or transfer them to other schools, according to the Times. One board member told the Times that after Thursday’s vote, about 60% of the emails he received opposed the mandate. The anti-vax groups include rich, white, liberal parents who oppose childhood vaccinations; conservative activists who have targeted the COVID-19 vaccines; and poor Black and Hispanic families who don’t trust the medical establishment, the Times notes.
L.A.’s Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to require all students 12 and older to be vaccinated before they can attend in-person classes, The New York Times reports. The school district is the second largest in the nation, and the mandate affects some 460,000 students, including those in independent charter schools housed in district buildings.
The highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is widespread across the United States. Vaccination is needed to ensure schools can stay open, Megan Reilly, interim schools superintendent says. “We owe this child his senior year,” Reilly says peaking about a 12th-grade athlete.
Vaccinations are already required for teachers and staff.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 58% of 12- to 18-year-olds have received at least one vaccine dose.
Some parents will oppose any mandate because no vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 has received full government approval. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Pfizer vaccine on an emergency basis for older children and might grant full approval this year. (No COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children under 12). However, in an interview published Friday vaccine maker, BioNTech shared that they are nearly ready to seek approval of the Pfizer vaccine in children as young as five years old. The request could be made as soon as a few weeks from now.
The FDA released the following statement Friday regarding the vaccine for children:
“Just like every vaccine decision we’ve made during this pandemic, our evaluation of data on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in children will not cut any corners. Conducting clinical trials to determine an appropriate vaccine dose in children requires