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DC students could soon be required to receive COVID vaccine under new bill

If approved, all eligible students would be required to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 15. This mandate would also apply to childcare workers.

WASHINGTON — A bill in the D.C. Council, introduced in early October, would make it mandatory for all eligible students to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by mid-December. 

The community is expected to weigh in on the proposal during a public hearing Wednesday. Many area schools have taken small steps in this direction, but the district would be the first in our area to make vaccinations against COVID-19 mandatory. 

Right now, the proposed deadline for students to be vaccinated is Dec. 15. The mandate would apply to students in all public, charter and private schools in D.C. All childcare workers would also need to meet that deadline. 

According to city health data, more than 50% of D.C. youth, ages 12 to 17, still have not received their first coronavirus shot. Since the start of the school year, hundreds of students have had to quarantine. 

Right now, only student-athletes are required to have the shot. At-large D.C. Councilmember Christina Henderson and several other members of the council don't believe that is enough protection for students. 

"The number one tool we have to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is vaccinations. Particularly as it pertains to our younger school community, where kids are in person and around each other for multiple hours of the day," said Henderson in an interview with WUSA9. 

Supporters of the bill say it only adds the covid vaccine to the number of other shots already required to be able to attend school. 

"We do vaccine mandates for other immunizations and we felt it was important for us to take this step to protect our communities," said Henderson.

RELATED: What's the timeline for young kids getting COVID shots after FDA panel vote?

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