LOS ANGELES, Sept 9 – Los Angeles County school officials ordered COVID-19 vaccinations for all students aged 12 and over on Thursday, the largest school district in the United States to take that dramatic step.
School board members voted unanimously to mandate the shots in the coming weeks despite angry objections from several parents who said they were worried about the safety of vaccines and had the right to make the decision for their children.
“I do not see this as your choice or my choice,” board member Jackie Goldberg said. “I see this as a community necessity. That means people have to do things they’re not comfortable with, they’re not sure of, that may even contain some risk.”
The board applauded after the vote. Board member Scott Schmerelson was forced to abstain because he owns stock in vaccine-maker Pfizer (PFE.N). He told the board afterward that he supported their decision.
The Los Angeles school district vaccine policy applies to all of the district’s more than 600,000 students who are 12 or older, unless they can establish a medical or religious exemption. The board previously mandated that all employees be inoculated.
The mandate does not apply to a small minority of students in the nation’s second-largest school district who have opted to remain home.