WASHINGTON (WDVM) — District of Columbia students who are 12 and older might soon have to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Six Councilmembers proposed a bill that will make the vaccination a requirement to go to school if it passes.
The bill will require all eligible students be fully vaccinated by December 15, 2021.
The announcement has been met with both praise and criticism from parents.
Maria Helena Carey, who has two students who are eligible and already vaccinated, said, “A vaccination mandate would make sense to keep as many children as possible safe in schools, especially those who can not be vaccinated.”
Other parents, like Renate Padmore, whose son turns 12 in the beginning of January, agree that the vaccine is important in the fight against COVID-19, but do not want to get their children vaccinated at this time.
“Seeing more research done for me and people my age versus my children was really the big thing. I did get the vaccine because I do know that without the vaccine, my risk of having complications if I catch COVID would be higher, and I work in a capacity where I would be exposed more, but my child is not exposed as much,” she said.
Padmore said if the Council votes in favor of the legislation, she will likely pull her child out of public school and begin homeschooling.
“He has all of his vaccines that are needed for school, however, those have more years of experience and research. This vaccine is so new,” she explained. “I think even if it was six months more, I would be okay. Just another six months or so, just to see how it unfolds. So far, we haven’t had too many children having side effects that are being reported publicly.”
According to Padmore, several other parents would pull their kids from school, too. Carey said if any parents are on the fence about getting their child vaccinated, they should look at it as any other required vaccination.
She said, “We should just look at the COVID-19 vaccination as one more piece in the quiver to keep our children as healthy and strong as possible. COVID-19 is just one more vaccination that we have added. In recent years, we added the H.P.V. vaccination for teens and tweens, for example.”
Current numbers show that about 40% of D.C. residents who are between 12 and 17 are fully vaccinated.