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This major city now requires children to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Los Angeles has put a deadline on when kids need to be vaccinated

An anti-vaccine mandate protester holds a sign outside of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
An anti-vaccine mandate protester holds a sign outside of the front windows of the Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters in Los Angeles on Thursday Sept. 9, 2021.
Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press

Los Angeles isn’t messing around when it comes to in-person learning. The L.A. Unified School District said Thursday that all children 12 and older need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January if they want to attend school in person, according to The Los Angeles Times.

  • The decision — which was approved by the Los Angeles Board of Education — was the first mandate made by one of country’s biggest school systems.

Why did LA add a COVID vaccine mandate?

L.A. schools interim Supt. Megan K. Reilly said the decision was the logical next step to keep children safe from COVID-19.

  • “We’ve always approached safety with a multilayered approach: masks, air filtration and coronavirus screening,” Reilly told The Los Angeles Times. “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.”

Cecily Myart-Cruz, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, told CNN that the move was made to make sure all students had an opportunity to attend classes in person.

  • “Ultimately, we want our schools to stay open, and the best way to ensure that is to have as many people as possible who are in our schools vaccinated,” she said.

Are parents mad about COVID-19 vaccine mandates?

Still, the decision drew immediate backlash from parents. For example, parent Carla Franca told CNN that she should be making the decision for her child.

  • “We must be the ones who decide for our children, not the district, not anyone else,” Franca said. “If you want to take your own children to the killing fields, you do it, but you are not the one who should be deciding. When you have your own kids, you can make your own crazy decisions.”

Experts recommend kids get COVID-19 vaccine

The decision comes as experts have been pushing for schools to have mask mandates and vaccine requirements, as I wrote for the Deseret News. For example, Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccinologist and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said both measures can keep children safe from COVID-19.

  • “If we’re going to give our fighting chance to have a successful school year, we’re going to need everyone who is vaccine eligible to get vaccinated and everybody masked,” Hotez told CNN.

In similar fashion, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House medical adviser on the coronavirus, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that children — who aren’t vaccinated and can’t be vaccinated — need to be surrounded by vaccinated people to stay safe.

  • “You surround them with those who can be vaccinated, whoever they are, teachers, personnel in the school, anyone, get them vaccinated. So, protect the kids with a shield of vaccinated people,” Fauci told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”