HealthDay News — Los Angeles has become the first major school system in the United States to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for all students 12 and older.
The Los Angeles 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 reported. 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.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 58 percent of 12- to 18-year-olds have received at least one vaccine dose. 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, The Times said.
Whether other large cities will follow the example set by Los Angeles remains to be seen. The mayors of New York City and Chicago have said they do not plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for school attendance, The Times said. In Los Angeles, students must have the first of two doses by Nov. 21. They need their second shot by Dec. 19 to begin the next semester. Those who turn 12 after that will have 30 days to get their first shot, according to the news report.
The Los Angeles teachers union supports the vaccine mandate and continues to ask for aggressive quarantines for those exposed to the virus, The Times reported.