LA mandates COVID-19 vaccines for schoolchildren

The Los Angeles board of education voted on Thursday to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory for all schoolchildren aged 12 and older attending in-person classes.

The board, which oversees a school district with more than 600,000 students, will implement the policy from next January.

Under the policy, all students aged 12 or older enrolled at elementary, junior and senior high schools will have to receive the first shot by November 21 and the second by December 19, unless they have a qualified exemption. They will be required to submit proof of vaccination.

Students who opt out of vaccinations will not be allowed to attend in-person classes in principle. They will be asked to take lessons online and undertake assignments at home.

Officials in charge said the step was necessary in order to continue in-person lessons. They added that it was deemed the most beneficial option, in terms of the children's education and mental health.

Vaccine requirements for schoolchildren are generating controversy across the United States. In New York City, inoculation of schoolchildren is reportedly making progress. On the other hand, the governor of the southern state of Texas has banned vaccine mandates.