Thinking Citizen Blog — Vaccine Mandates and Racial Equity in Schools
Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care, and Global Health Policy Day
Today’s Topic: Vaccine Mandates and Racial Equity in Schools
Are vaccine mandates in schools the right thing to do? In all schools or just some? who should decide? how? what is fair? why? Today excerpts from an article on vaccine mandates in schools in New Orleans and Washington DC. by two pediatricians who in general favor vaccines but in this case feel strongly that the benefits are not worth the costs. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE RULES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND NEW ORLEANS
1. “In the capital, the mandate applies to students 12 and older and requires a booster in addition to the initial two-shot course, while in the Crescent City it kicks in at age 5 and requires only two shots.”
2. “In neither city are exceptions made for kids who have immunity from prior infection, which provides good protection from severe illness.”
THE VACCINATION RATES FOR CHILDREN IN EACH CITY
1.“In Washington, 36% of children 12 to 15 and 43% of 16 and 17 year olds have received three shots of a Covid vaccine. For black children, those rates are only 23% and 31%, respectively. Roughly 60% of enrollment is black.”
2. “In New Orleans, 77% of public school children are black and 52.5% of children 5 to 17 have completed their Covid vaccine series. (New Orleans does not break down the numbers by race.)”
3. “If school began today and the mandates were strictly enforced, at least two-thirds of black adolescents in Washington and almost half of all children in New Orleans wouldn’t be allowed in the classroom.”
COSTS AND BENEFITS — this is not a tough call
1. “These mandates have little public-health benefit. The vaccines have lost much of their efficacy as new strains of the virus have evolved, and the risk of serious disease from Covid has always been low in otherwise healthy children.”
2. “At the same time, there is ample evidence that online schooling and pandemic education have been an abject failure — especially for black students.”
3. “At the end of the 2020–2021 year, students of all races had fallen behind by an average of four months in reading and five months in math. For students in low-income schools the learning loss was closer to seven months.”
NB: “Remote learning widened the white-black achievement gap that had been closing for 30 years.”
LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.