Last Updated on August 10, 2022
Most school districts across the nation have scrapped vaccine mandates, but the school districts of Washington D.C. and New Orleans plan to keep them for the 2022-23 school year. The policy will ultimately bar thousands of children from attending in-person classes.
In Washington D.C., the mandate applies to students 12 and older and requires a booster in addition to the initial two-shot dose, the Wall Street Journal reported. New Orleans will be maintaining an even stricter mandate, which requires vaccination for children aged five and up. Neither city will be providing exemptions for natural immunity.
The cities plan to move forward with the mandates despite long documented evidence that the vaccines do not prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additional studies and infection data have demonstrated that children are at lower risk of developing serious complications from the disease when compared with adults.
An international study involving researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that children up to age 18 with COVID-19 were at low risk for serious health problems stemming from such infections. The study was based on pediatric data analyzed up to June 2021, before the delta and omicron variants took hold.
“We know vaccinations are the best tool we have against COVID-19. They keep our children healthy, safe and in school, where they can continue to learn, develop, and enjoy their friends,” reads the New Orleans School District’s COVID-19 policies page. “We are excited that the FDA and the CDC have greenlighted COVID-19 vaccines for all students, Kindergarten through High School, and at NOLA Public Schools, we are doing our part to connect our families to these lifesaving remedies.”
The New Orleans School District became the first in the nation to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for students last February. A number of districts followed throughout the school year, but as the new year begins in many parts of the country, New Orleans and Washington D.C. stand alone.