School districts are greenlighting COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students ages 12 and older

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More school districts have moved to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for students ages 12 and older.

Oakland Unified School District issued a press release announcing that at a Wednesday Board of Education meeting the directors voted 5-1, with one abstention, in support of a vaccine mandate for students 12 and above. The mandate will not take effect until sometime next year.

“Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell and her team will now work out the logistics of how the requirement will take effect and when as directed by the resolution,” according to the release. “The District will create a plan and present it to the Board by October, so they are aware of how it will happen. Superintendent Johnson-Trammell indicated the requirement would go into effect no earlier than January 1, 2022, so as to be less disruptive during the middle of the fall semester, and to give students time to get their required vaccination, if not before, then during winter break.”

The mandate will include any exemptions demanded by law as well as a “personal belief exemption.”

“As for how the District will create the requirement, the team will take a look at the vaccine requirement in Los Angeles Unified and adjust it based on local context and need. There may be aspects of that requirement that work in Oakland, and others that do not, so we will use the best parts of it, and add to it where needed. Per the resolution, all exemptions required by law and a ‘personal belief exemption' will be included,” the press release noted.

Currently in the U.S. the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in individuals ages 12 and up. It has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in individuals 16 and up, but remains available under an emergency use authorization for kids ages 12-15.

Hayward Unified School District and Piedmont Unified School District also approved student vaccine requirements, according to Bay Area News Group.

Hayward Unified School District's Board of Trustees on Wednesday greenlit a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for kids 12 and up, according to sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com, which reported that students eligible for vaccination will need to furnish proof of vaccination by Dec. 17, which is the final day of classes prior to the district's Winter Recess.

District officials said that the requirement will pertain to kids ages 5 to 11 after the vaccine is authorized for kids in that age range, according to the outlet. Eligible students who fail to supply vaccination proof or who get an exemption under state law will face weekly testing, according to the outlet.

Piedmont Unified's vaccine requirement will take effect Nov. 17 and allow medical exemptions, district spokesperson Brian Killgore said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The outlet reported that religious exemptions will not be available.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 64.3% of the U.S. population ages 12 and up has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 74.9% of that demographic has had at least one dose.

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