Politics

Mass. governor candidate Danielle Allen calls for COVID vaccine mandate for kids 12 and up

"It is now time for the Commonwealth to incorporate COVID vaccination requirements for students into our existing state laws for school vaccination."

Harvard University professor and Massachusetts candidate for governor Danielle Allen. Handout
covid-19

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Danielle Allen is calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to step up his response to the COVID-19 pandemic in public schools and require all students over age 12 to receive vaccines for the contagious virus.

Students across Massachusetts are attending classes in-person, full time — a requirement state officials imposed following a chaotic school year of patchwork hybrid and remote learning models. Students and staff are also required to wear a face covering in all school buildings regardless of their vaccination status.

But Allen, a Harvard professor, said state lawmakers should take another step and add the coronavirus vaccine to the list of vaccinations students need to attend school.

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While such a move was approved Thursday in California by the nation’s second-largest district, the Los Angeles Unified School District, no U.S. state has issued a blanket vaccine requirement for its schools.

“It is now time for the Commonwealth to incorporate COVID vaccination requirements for students into our existing state laws for school vaccination,” Allen said in a statement. “Establishing COVID vaccination requirements for our children 12 and up will not only help fortify our schools against potential COVID disruptions, but also help address the fear and uncertainty of hundreds of thousands of students, parents, and educational staff as we continue to navigate this pandemic.”

Baker has so far required state government workers to receive the vaccine, but said last month he is leaving it up to school districts to decide whether to require the shots for their teachers.

As for students, the Republican governor has not offered an opinion.

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