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LAUSD Will Expand Coronavirus Vaccine Access, But Not Mandate, To Younger Kids Following CDC Approval

A principal holding a walkie-talkie reaches toward a child who's seated at a desk wearing a facemask that's not currently covering his nose.
Principal Juana Cortez adjusting a student’s mask at L.A. Unified's Montara Avenue Elementary School on Aug. 16, 2021.
(Al Kamalizad
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisors recommended Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for all children 5- to 11-years old Tuesday.

Following the CDC’s approval, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced it would expand access to the vaccine for younger children, but would not apply the mandate that exists for students 12 and older.

The current policy creates the possibility that there will be a variety of vaccination statuses at Los Angeles middle schools, where students straddle the line between 11 and 12 years old.

The federal Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of the vaccine for this age group last week saying the vaccine is “90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5 through 11.”

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The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a one-third lower dose than the shot given to adults and an ongoing study of more than 3,000 children found no serious side effects.

“COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect our students, staff and families, and public schools are natural sites for our students and families to receive this life-saving vaccine,” read a statement released by the district.

LAUSD’s mobile vaccination teams will offer the lower dose of the vaccine starting Monday, Nov. 8 and 13 school-based clinics will begin vaccinating children 5-11-years-old with parental consent on Tuesday, Nov. 16.

“The vaccine is the single best way to stop the spread of COVID-19, and I encourage families of children ages 5-11 to consult their pediatrician and get their children vaccinated,” said Board of Education President Kelly Gonez in a statement to LAist.

California has a statewide vaccine mandate for children 12 and older that goes into effect after the FDA fully approves vaccines for that age group.

What questions do you have about early childhood education and development? What do you want to know about kids ages 0-5 and those who care for them in Southern California?
Decades of research indicates early childhood education significantly boosts children’s readiness to learn. Mariana Dale wants families, caregivers and educators to have the information they need to help children 0-5 grow and thrive by identifying what’s working and what’s not in California’s early childhood system.