Austin Beutner, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in California said the district would require its students to get a COVID-19 vaccine once it is available for school-aged children.1
Two experimental mRNA COVID-19 vaccines,, Pfizer/BioNTech’s BNT162b2 and Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccines, have been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, both vaccines have only been tested in subjects over the age of 16.2
COVID-19 Vaccine May Become a Routine Vaccine for School Enrollment
Beutner noted that in the event that a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for school aged children, a COVID-19 vaccine requirement to attend school would be no different than the current mandatory routine vaccinations for students.3 He said:
A COVID-19 vaccine requirement would be no different than students who are vaccinated for measles or mumps or tested for tuberculosis before they come on campus. That’s the best way we know to keep all on the campus safe.4
This is first acknowledgement from the superintendent of a major school system that the COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be added to the list of vaccines required for school enrollment.5
Beutner said that children and young adults will likely be the last group to be vaccinated because they have a lower risk of contracting a severe case of COVID-19, but he said he hopes all students will be vaccinated by the beginning of 2022.6
For those parents who do not want to their child receiving COVID-19 vaccine, Beutner said that the school district will always have the online learning option for unvaccinated students.7
Since the data has shown that children are less susceptible to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Keri Althoff, PhD, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said that reopening classrooms could be safely managed with mitigation strategies like masking and social distancing.
Dr. Althoff stated:
Children do best in school, and hopefully districts can create some space to allow for social distancing between now and when we have better coverage and protection in the population, which may take many months.8
Los Angeles Unified School District Campuses to Be Used As Vaccination Centers
Beutner sent a letter to state and county public health officials asking for authorization to administer COVID-19 vaccines at LAUSD schools for staff, local community members and for students after a vaccine for children has been officially licensed by the FDA. In the letter, LAUSD is asking the state for permission to designate its 1,400 campuses as vaccination centers.9
EUA COVID-19 vaccines will be available to LAUSD teachers in February 2020. The school district believes that their involvement in the vaccination process will help enable teachers to get their vaccines quickly.10
We have an information system to schedule the appointments, to make sure the data is reported to the right authorities and to make sure you follow up your appointment. We have licensed vaccination clinics already at schools and clinicians licensed to provide the vaccine.11
He added that an enormous operational challenge lies ahead in providing the vaccine to essential workers in schools. “The best place to provide the vaccine is at the place families trust and where students, staff and families are most days—their local public school,” he said.12
Click here to view References:
1 DeMarche E. Los Angeles students required to get COVID-19 vaccine (once available) before return to school. Fox News Jan. 12, 2021.
2 Blume H. L.A. students must get COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available for them, Beutner says. Los Angeles Times Jan. 11, 2021.
3 Breen K. Los Angeles schools may require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Today Jan. 12, 2021.
4 Camera L. LA Schools Chief: Kids Must Get Coronavirus Vaccine to Return. US News & World Report Jan. 12, 2021.
6 Blume H. L.A. students must get COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available for them, Beutner says. Los Angeles Times Jan. 11, 2021.
8 Breen K. Los Angeles schools may require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Today Jan. 12, 2021.
9 Garcia S. Superintendent Beutner Pushes for LAUSD Schools To Become Vaccination Centers. ABC7 Jan. 18, 2021.
10 LAUSD campuses ready to become COVID-19 vaccine centers, Supt. Beutner says. KTLA Jan. 18, 2021.
11 Breen K. Los Angeles schools may require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Today Jan. 12, 2021.
12 Camera L. LA Schools Chief: Kids Must Get Coronavirus Vaccine to Return. US News & World Report Jan. 12, 2021.