Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) became the first in the nation to require all children aged 12 and older to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Los Angeles Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to approve the mandate for all children 12 and older, with those involved in extracurricular activities, such as sports, to be fast-tracked to get their first required shot by October 3, followed up by the second before Halloween.
“It’s about the collective good,” board President Kelly Gonez said before the vote, reported the New York Post. “It’s about what’s best for the community as a whole and sometimes that necessitates challenging decisions.”
All other children 12 and over are mandated to obtain the first jab by November 21, and the second by December 19.
Children not yet 12 years of age will be required, according to the board, to get their first shot no later than 30 days after their 12th birthdays, and the second one no later than eight weeks after their 12th birthday.
All district students and charter school students are required to obtain the shots.
Families were told they must provide proof of vaccination for children through LAUSD’s electronic Daily Pass system by January 10.
Exemptions to vaccination will only be for those with “qualified and approved” conditions or reason.
LAUSD is the nation’s second largest school system after New York City.
The Pfizer vaccine has only been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under federal emergency use authorization for children aged 12 to 15.
Los Angeles schools Interim Supt. Megan K. Reilly told the Los Angeles Times:
We’ve always approached safety with a multilayered approach: masks, air filtration and coronavirus screening. But we are seeing without a doubt that the vaccines are one of the clearest pathways to protecting individuals from getting severe sickness as well as for mitigating transmission of the COVID virus. It is one of the best preventive measures that we have at our disposal to create a safe environment at schools.
Odis Johnson Jr., executive director of the Center for Safe and Healthy Schools at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education said LAUSD “could provide the model for a comprehensive school response to COVID mitigation, so that schools can move on to student academic and mental health recovery plans.”
“Mandatory vaccination mandates move us forward toward finally addressing students’ developmental, social and academic well-being,” he said.