DC moves forward with kindergarten vaccination mandate

(Updates with statement from Centrist Kids Health Services and updates second paragraph.)

Washington, D.C., is taking steps to ease the waiting times associated with vaccinations, with nearly all plans to transition to vaccinate second and third graders as planned by Dec. 2, according to Centrist Kids Health Services.

But after a barrage of questions about the timeline during a Monday afternoon Health Department news conference, officials also unveiled new measures to assist parents in having their children vaccinated by the school start, which is this year on Sept. 4.

Officials will organize emergency vaccination clinics for those who cannot make it to their local health department until the Dec. 2 date, when all parents are told they must vaccinate their children or keep them home from school.

Advocates for the vaccine and vaccine experts say they hope this comes to light, rather than remain a secret. But parents will still need to sign a petition to get their names on the list for emergency vaccination clinics, which the DC Department of Health says will not be run by Centrist Kids or any other private agency.

— Cebrey Cohen

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