The Los Angeles school district, the second largest in the United States, decided Thursday to require all students aged 12 and over to be vaccinated against Covid-19 if they wish to attend a public school.
This vote by district officials, which has some 600,000 students in total, concerns about 220,000 of them eligible for vaccination, a first on such a scale in the country.
It comes as President Joe Biden has announced that he is making vaccination mandatory for about two-thirds of American workers, including federal employees and employees of companies with more than 100 people.
The Los Angeles School District’s decision, where masks are mandatory both indoors and outdoors, could serve as an example for many others. Teachers and employees there are already required to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The motion, adopted unanimously by six votes, provides that all children physically present in class must have received a first dose of vaccine by November 21, and the second by December 19 at the latest.
A child reaching twelve – the minimum age required for vaccination against Covid-19 in the United States, where it is free and available to all – will have thirty days to receive their first dose.
“The vaccine is safe, effective and the best way to protect our students from the virus,” school district president Kelly Gomez said on Twitter after the vote.
This obligation has received the support of teachers’ unions and many parents, but faces fierce opposition from a minority who disputes the validity of vaccination, despite scientific evidence of its effectiveness against severe forms of the disease. Covid-19.
According to Los Angeles County health officials, about 58% of young people between the ages of 12 and 18 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Those under 18 accounted for 27% of all Covid-19 infections recorded in the county last week.
Covid-19 “is a tangible threat to the health and safety of all students within the Los Angeles School District community” and also undermines the continuity and quality of the education they receive, underline the motion.
Wearing a mask and being vaccinated have become political issues that divide many Americans. Some Republican governors have even wanted to introduce bans on the obligation to wear a mask in their States, invoking the protection of sacrosanct individual freedoms.
The coronavirus has infected millions of Americans since the start of the pandemic, killing more than 650,000, a world record.