President Joe Biden pressed the nation’s schools to hold at least one “pop-up vaccination clinic” for children aged 12 and older prior to the start of the academic year, reported Reuters Thursday.
“We can and we must open schools this fall, full time,” Biden said. “We can’t afford another year out of the classroom.”
Biden will also call on U.S. school districts to host at least one pop-up vaccination clinic over the coming weeks to get more children 12 and older vaccinated, the White House added https://t.co/BdU1dyzy7q pic.twitter.com/l1Cll1MvsL
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 29, 2021
Biden also directed pharmacies that participate in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program to prioritize vaccinations for children aged 12 and up, and to coordinate with schools to host the “pop-up” vaccination clinics, Education Week reported.
“Parents, get your children vaccinated. You do it for so many other things right now,” Biden said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), less than a third of children between the ages of 12 and 15 have been fully vaccinated to date, and under 40 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated.
The pressure to get children vaccinated comes as the Biden administration’s pandemic strategy has been criticized for its confusion in its guidance requiring vaccinated Americans to wear masks at the same time it touts the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Thursday school districts returning to mask mandates are doing so “to protect the vaccinated” and to prevent the unvaccinated or vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections from transmitting the virus to others.
Murthy said the latest CDC guidance urging Americans to wear masks indoors in public places where there is substantial transmission was “intended to reduce transmission, recognizing that some breakthrough cases can actually end up transmitting infection.”
Asked by CNN New Day host John Berman about the “metric” for dropping the guidance for children to wear masks in school, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said :
I think if we see more and more people who are vaccinated, our children are vaccinated, we have full vaccination in schools, we have full vaccination in teachers, all of those are documented, we have disease rates that are low, I think then we can start thinking about what — how we can loosen up and not seeing clusters and outbreaks in these school systems. The thing that’s most important to me through all of this is that our kids get back in school full-time in-person learning. And we’re not there yet. We’re far from there. And I want our children to be safe.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will require weekly COVID tests for staff and students returning to school, regardless of vaccination status.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is not requiring, but encouraging, unvaccinated students and staff members in K-12 schools to wear masks indoors.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said Thursday he is calling a special congressional session to vote on a school mask mandate and to restore the Public Health Emergency Declaration.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) said Friday, however, he will issue an executive order that allows parents to decide if their children should wear masks in school.
Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a physician, criticized the CDC’s push for mask mandates once again, stating science does not support mandating vaccines for those with immunity, whether from natural immunity, because of having already been exposed to the virus, or having had the vaccine.
Thirty-five million people officially have had COVID, but really conservative estimates, even from the CDC, indicate another 70 some odd million have had it, so really it is over a hundred million Americans have had it, probably 150 million to 160 million have been inoculated with the vaccine. Together, we have an enormous amount of success with immunity.
“In fact, the other day, I saw that over 65 years of age, 90% of people have now been inoculated,” the senator added. “So, this is extraordinary success, and yet, they say, oh no, we have to inoculate your newborn in the hospital before you can take them home.”