Thousands of DC students need routine vaccines to go back to school

It was hard to keep up with routine vaccinations for kids over the pandemic with hard to book appointments. However, D.C.’s health department and school officials are urging thousands of parents to get caught up with those shots soon or their children may not be able to go to school.

Over 28,000 students in the city are not up to date on their current vaccines.

D.C. Health released the data and it’s through Aug. 15.

Ward 3 had the most kids not up to date on their shots at about 36%. Ward 6 and 8 have the least noncompliance at 24%. The data does not include the COVID-19 vaccination compliance.

Here is a full breakdown:

  • Ward 1: 33%
  • Ward 2: 31%
  • Ward 3: 36% 
  • Ward 4: 27%
  • Ward 5: 31%
  • Ward 6: 24%
  • Ward 7: 27%
  • Ward 8: 24%

Rules for both public and private schools in D.C. require all students to be up to date on their shots within the first 20 school days or they can’t come to class or participate in any other school-related activity.

Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George tweeted, “The data we have is alarming. We’re 10 days out from the start of school, and close to one third of D.C. students are not in compliance with OSSEDC’s “No Shots, No School” policy.”

It will take a much greater effort from government, schools, and community to narrow the gap.

Sharon Lewis, interim director of the health department, wrote in a letter to the city council that the noncompliance rates will likely drop during the first week of school when parents can turn in Universal Health Certificates. She wrote that many students that are non-compliancy have been vaccinated outside the city.

“For any child who lacks required RPIs (routine pediatric immunizations), D.C. Health will be holding on-demand vaccine clinics so that parents can immediately have their child immunized,” wrote Lewis.

This year older students 12 years and older are also required to get the COVID-19 vaccine beyond other routine vaccines.  

The first day of school in D.C. is Aug. 29.  

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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