DC schools require COVID-19 vaccine for students 12 and up

Students ages 12 and older will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine to attend D.C. schools in the fall.

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education announced that beginning in the 2022-23 school year, student immunization requirements include the coronavirus vaccine for all students of an age for which there is a vaccine fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Currently, this includes students 12 and up, according to a news release.

The requirement was detailed in a law that the D.C. Council voted to approve last year. It was the first legislation of its kind in the D.C. region.

Public health officials are urging parents to ensure their students are up-to-date on routine vaccines before the school year begins. Many fell behind on shots during the pandemic, health officials say.

“We want to make sure that all of our students have everything they need for a healthy start to the school year,” said State Superintendent of Education Christina Grant. “This means making sure children see their primary medical provider for a well-child visit and receive all needed immunizations.”

D.C. law requires students in all D.C. schools, including private, parochial and independent schools, to be fully compliant with required vaccinations to attend school and that schools verify immunization certification for all students as part of enrollment and attendance.

Unless exempted, any student ages 12 to 15 at the start of the new school year must have received the COVID-19 vaccine series or have started receiving the shot by Sept. 16.

About 80% of kids ages 12-15 have completed the primary vaccine series; 76% of kids in the 16-17 year old group have finished the primary series, as have 52% of students 18-24, according to city data.

Additionally, unless exempted, any student 16 or older at the start of the new school year must have received the primary COVID-19 vaccination series or be proceeding with their series by the start of the school year.

DC Health will expand access to vaccination services which include:

  • School-Based Health Centers – Families with students ages 4 and older can visit any
  • School-Based Health Center regardless of where the student is enrolled for a vaccination-only appointment.
  • District Mobile Medical Units – DC Health has placed mobile units at schools, and additional sites at recreation centers, COVID centers, and other community locations in all eight wards will be added in August. Families can pre-register for the school-based mobile medical units by using the registration link.
  • Vaccine Exchange – Schools can use the Vaccine Exchange to request and coordinate on-site vaccination clinics with health providers.

Find more information on the DC Health website.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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