LOS ANGELES, Sept 10 ― Los Angeles County school officials voted unanimously yesterday to order Covid-19 inoculations for all students aged 12 and over, the largest school district in the United States to take that step.
School board members approved the shots over the objection of several parents who said in Spanish they were concerned about the safety of vaccines and should have the right to make that decision for their children.
“I do not see this as your choice or my choice,” board member Jackie Goldberg said. “I see this as a community necessity. That means people have to do things they’re not comfortable with, they’re not sure of, that may even contain some risk.”
With a Covid-19 surge fuelled by the highly transmissible Delta variant, school districts have struggled to create policies around the politically charged topics of vaccines and masking.
Children represented about a quarter of all confirmed Covid-19 cases in the United States in the week ending September 2, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
More than 600,000 students attend 1,200 public schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which already requires face masks, testing and ventilation upgrades. The board previously mandated that all employees without exemptions be vaccinated.
The mandate does not apply to a small minority of students in the nation’s second-largest school district who have opted to remain home.
At least one much smaller school district in the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City has already required vaccines for students.
The US Food and Drug Administration said in May that children aged 12-15 can receive the Pfizer Inc and BioNTech vaccine previously approved for those 16 and over, but authorisation for children younger than 12 has not yet been granted. ― Reuters