Students from the D.C. area are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccinations. They will be able to get vaccinated at five special clinics throughout the District until Nov. 12. (AP Photo)

By Deborah Bailey,
Contributing Editor,
dbaileyafro.com

In anticipation of a Covid-19 surge this coming winter, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee recommended Oct. 11 adding most COVID-19 vaccines to the recommended vaccination schedule for children and adults in the United States.  

The action by the CDC’s independent vaccine advisers came a day after  CDC emergency authorization of a Covid-19 booster dose for children five through 11 years old. 

Washington, D.C. is one of a few jurisdictions that added the COVID-19 vaccination to the required vaccination schedule for classes this year. Students aged 12 and older are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine series in addition to regularly required vaccines to attend school. 

But after school administrators reported problems achieving compliance, officials have now moved the date for expulsions for students who are not Covid-19 immunized to Jan. 3.  

“We have heard from many of you about the challenges of tracking enforcement for COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Paul Kihn, D.C. deputy mayor for education, in a letter to public and charter school board officials, who must also comply with the COVID-19 immunization requirement. 

“We hope that the Jan. 3, 2023 date for first exclusions of non-compliant students will give schools  and LEA’s enough time to prepare and for students to get the Covid-19 vaccination,”  Kihn  added.

Non-compliance with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement would impact D.C.’s black students at a much higher rate than their white peers.  Vaccination rates for black D.C. students age 12 and over hover near 65%, while the overall rate for youth vaccinations in that age range is 85%, according to CDC data. 

The D.C. The Health Department is working with Children’s National Hospital to offer vaccinations at five clinics across the city through Nov. 12, with the goal of ensuring all D.C. students receive the COVID-19 vaccination, as well as the entire list of standard vaccinations required for school attendance. 

According to the D.C. State School Superintendent, nearly a quarter of D.C.’s public school students have not yet received standard vaccinations for illnesses such as whooping cough and measles, much less the newly required COVID-19 vaccine. 

The deadline for elementary school students to come into compliance with vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccine, was Oct. 11. However a two-week grace period has been granted for students who have doctor’s appointments to get vaccinated or those who can attend one of the free vaccination clinics organized by D.C. Health and Children’s Hospital. 

Sixth through 12th grade students in D.C. must meet the vaccination requirement by Nov. 4. 

D.C. Heath and Children’s Hospital child vaccination clinics will offer the array of vaccinations for childhood diseases for D.C. public school students, including the COVID-19 vaccination series. 

All children attending public, private and parochial schools within the District are required to meet childhood vaccination requirements. Child vaccinations can be obtained at the following sites:

LOCATIONADDRESSHOURS
Children’s National
THEARC
1801 Mississippi Ave., SE1st FloorWashington, DC 20020Monday-Friday8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Children’s National Columbia Heights3336 14th St., NWWashington, DC 20010Monday-Friday8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Children’s National Shepherd Park7125 13th Pl., NWWashington, DC 20012Monday-Friday8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Children’s NationalShaw Metro641 S St., NW
Washington, DC 20001
Monday-Friday8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Children’s National Anacostia2101 Martin Luther King Jr Ave., SEWashington, DC 20020Monday-Friday8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Special Additional Evening and Weekend Hours at Select Locations:

LOCATIONADDRESSDATES/HOURS
Children’s National Shepherd Park7125 13th Pl., NWWashington, DC 20012October 10 to October 14:4:00 pm – 8:00 pm November 7 to November 10:4:00 pm – 8:00 pm Saturday November 12:8:00 am – 5:00pm
Children’s National Anacostia2101 Martin Luther King Jr Ave., SE Washington, DC 20020October 10 to October 14:4:00 pm – 8:00 pm November 7 to November 10:4:00 pm – 8:00 pm Saturday October 15:8:00 am – 5:00pm

Childhood vaccination clinics will be closed Veterans Day, November 11.

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