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San Francisco faculties head off vaccine necessities for teenagers

By Sydney Johnson and Ida Mojadad

Authors of the review team

As vaccination regulations roll out in schools and work environments across the country, the San Francisco Unified School District holds out.

This is largely due to the district’s already high level of vaccination among students. According to The City’s COVID-19 data dashboard, as of September 10, around 90% of teenagers ages 12-17 are fully vaccinated.

“I’m not sure if a mandate would make a difference to get the last 10 percent,” said Dr. Naveena Bobba, assistant health director of San Francisco. “Even without a mandate, 12 to 17-year-olds have taken it upon themselves to protect themselves and those around them.”

Health experts believe the county’s high vaccination rate among teens and staff is keeping child rates low, even during the recent delta surge, which is now gradually easing.

About 11.5% of the most recent positive cases in San Francisco were in children under the age of 18, according to the Department of Health. And to date, there have been no COVID-19 outbreaks in schools in San Francisco, defined as “three or more cases in unrelated households where the source of infection was at the school and not in another location”.

By waiving a mandate, the district is also likely to avoid potential lawsuits rumored in response to recent student vaccination requirements announced in Los Angeles Unified, California’s largest school district. But vaccination regulations already apply across San Francisco. Since this summer, the city has required all employees to be vaccinated, as well as health care workers, the police and the fire brigade. SFUSD employees must also be vaccinated or have weekly tests.

San Francisco was also one of the first in the country to require individuals to demonstrate their vaccination status before dining indoors or attending other indoor events, and is now considering extending similar requirements to large outdoor events.

President Joe Biden announced a similar statewide requirement Thursday for businesses with 100+ employees that don’t require vaccinations or weekly testing for non-remote workers.

The move comes not long after California legislature pumped the breaks to a proposed law that would protect employers who require employees to get vaccinated or take weekly tests, as well as another bill that would require companies to review vaccination records for indoor events and gatherings.

By September 2, approximately 96% of SFUSD workers were fully vaccinated; however, the district was still waiting for feedback from around 2,400 of its 10,000 employees.

SFUSD will continue to monitor cases of COVID-19 and adjust security protocols if necessary, said Laura Dudnick, spokeswoman for the district.

“It is extremely encouraging to see such high vaccination rates among our staff,” said Superintendent Vincent Matthews. “Our vaccine needs are one of the many ways we protect our students, employees and families.”



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