Covid Vaccine Mandates Heighten School Inequity

Through Elisa Holland and Nicki Johnson

Most of the US Covid restrictions have long since ended, but school districts in New Orleans and the District of Columbia are mandating Covid vaccines so children can attend school in person this fall. In the capital, the mandate is for students as young as 12 and requires a refresher course in addition to the initial two-shot course, while in the Crescent City it begins at age 5 and requires only two shots. In no city are exceptions made for children who are immune to a previous infection, which provides good protection against serious illnesses.

These mandates raise serious questions about racial inequality. In Washington, 36% of children between the ages of 12 and 15 and 43% of those aged 16 and 17 have received three vaccinations against Covid. For black children, these rates are only 23% and 31%, respectively. About 60% of those enrolled in school are black. In New Orleans, 77% of public school children are black and 52.5% of children ages 5 to 17 have completed their Covid vaccination course. (New Orleans doesn’t break the numbers down by race.) Covid Vaccine Mandates Heighten School Inequity

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