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D.C. schools expand covid vaccine mandate, unlike most other districts

D.C. students who are 12 and older must be vaccinated against the coronavirus to attend school this upcoming academic year. The youth vaccine mandate is among the strictest in the nation, according to health experts. Overall, about 85 percent of students between the ages of 12 and 15 have been vaccinated, but the rate drops to 60 percent among Black children in this age range. Los Angeles Unified School District delayed a mandate that was to take effect in the fall, pointing to the vaccination rates among older students and what the district’s superintendent said had been low transmission in schools. Larger school districts are encouraging but not mandating that children be vaccinated; some of the country's largest school districts have encouraged but not mandated that students be vaccinated. L

D.C. students have 20 days from the first day of school to be in compliance with vaccine requirements before they are barred from attendance. Many students missed routine doctor appointments during the pandemic, and local officials estimate that a quarter of students are out-of-date with their vaccines. Children under 12 are not required to get the coronavirus vaccine because the shots for this age group have only emergency-use authorization. Schools should have data showing which students have been vaccinated to encourage families with unvaccinated students to get their shots if they show up to school without them.