All D.C. students, including those who attend private and charter schools, will need to be up-to-date on their vaccines and immunizations in order to attend school in the fall, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced.
Bowser stood alongside school and health officials in front of a large mobile vaccine clinic Monday as she announced that such clinics would go to neighborhoods and schools over the next several months to offer free vaccines to students who need them.
"Parents get kids shots every single year and we have to get back to that cycle of making sure that our children are vaccinated," she said. "An outbreak of measles or whooping cough in a world where we have safe and effective vaccines should be unacceptable to all of us."
Some of the routine vaccines include those for polio and measles. Students 16 and older are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Bowser said.
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"The requirement will be enforced. It will be. So now is the time to start planning for your appointments and getting your kids vaccinated," Bowser said.
Bowser said during the news conference many children missed their routine doctor appointments during the pandemic.
"We have just seen with kids being disconnected from school, and from health care ... We're at a level of real concern that we could have a preventable disease circulate in one of our buildings," she said.
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D.C. has always required that students have vaccines and immunizations to attend school, but Bowser warned the requirement will be strictly enforced this coming school year.
If students are not vaccinated by the 20th day of the next school year, Bowser said they will not be allowed to attend classes and no virtual option will be offered.
In addition to mobile clinics, school-based health centers will also offer free vaccines and immunizations.