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Strengthening Immunizations In School and Childcare Communities

October 4, 2021

For Immediate Release
October 4, 2021
Contact: Amanda Farnan, or (202) 355-8431

Councilmember Christina Henderson Introduces Legislation Strengthening Immunizations In School and Childcare Communities

Washington, DC – Councilmember Christina Henderson along with Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau, Charles Allen, Elissa Silverman, Mary Cheh, and Janeese Lewis-George introduced the Coronavirus Immunization of School Students and Early Childhood Workers Amendment Act of 2021. This legislation will require students in the District of Columbia eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to be fully vaccinated by December, while strengthening our immunization protocols for school communities and childcare workers.

“It is imperative that we provide healthy learning environments for all of our students and school communities. As the spread of COVID-19 continues, we know that vaccination is one of our best tools to protect against and minimize the spread of infection in our schools,” said Councilmember Christina Henderson. “This legislation will take a necessary next step and require all eligible students and childcare employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The vaccine has been tested, it is safe and has proven results, and we have ample supply. We already require young people to be vaccinated against a number of different diseases in order to attend school or childcare facilities. This is an extension of that effort.”

Currently, only about 40% of our youngest residents ages 12-17 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In order to protect our students and end this pandemic, we must increase those numbers and we have seen that vaccine mandates can be effective in this regard. This legislation will also ease the immunization paperwork burden for families, by requiring physicians to provide certification of COVID-19 immunizations electronically to public health officials. For school year 2022-2023 and onward, all immunization records would need to be transmitted electronically.

“I look forward to a swift and thoughtful public hearing on this legislation. I understand the subject of vaccinations is sensitive to many in our community, and that the Council must also do all it can to continue to protect the health of our students and residents as quickly as possible,” Henderson continued. “I am hopeful that this mandate will help increase our vaccination rates, allay some anxiety about in-person learning, and allow our students to focus on their education.”

The Coronavirus Immunization of School Students and Early Childhood Workers Amendment Act of 2021 will take clear and necessary action in improving safety in our schools. In summary, this legislation:

  • Requires all current and future students deemed eligible by the FDA to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus on or before December 15, 2021;
  • Mandates immunization records for COVID vaccinations starting in December 2021 be transmitted electronically and for all immunizations required for school attendance starting in school year 2022-2023;
  • Requires all staff at licensed child development facilities to be vaccinated against the coronavirus and to submit an annual, electronic certification of vaccination.