Local, national health officials urge eligible students, teachers to get COVID-19 vaccine before school starts

COVID-19 Vaccine

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — It’s a back-to-school year like we’ve never seen before. Instead of just sending out reading and supplies lists, schools are holding vaccination clinics to make sure eligible students get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing cases trend upward in Hampton Roads and additionally we are seeing cases in children increase as well,” said Portsmouth Health Department Director Dr. Lauren James.

That’s why the Virginia Department of Education says students 12 and up should roll up their sleeves for the vaccine. The coronavirus vaccine isn’t a requirement for students, but local school divisions may choose to require it for their staff.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on MSNBC that a vaccine mandate for teachers is critical.

“I’m going to upset people on this, but I think we should [mandate vaccines for teachers],” Fauci said.

VDH agrees. Teachers who can get vaccinated, should.

“This teacher may be teaching students that are in an age group who are unable to get vaccinated, so it really goes back to not just the protection of the teacher, but the protection of the whole community, and the community in this case is the school,” James said.

Aside from the COVID vaccine, there are a few vaccines for students entering kindergarten, seventh grade, and their senior year under a new state law. You can read more about the new law and those requirements here.

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