With Schools Starting Online, Vaccinations Head for Recess

Schools play a pivotal role in U.S. vaccination efforts. Laws require children to have certain immunizations to enroll and attend classes. But this academic year, to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, many school districts have opted to start classes online. The decision takes away much of the back-to-school leverage pushing parents to stay current on their children’s shots, said Dr. Nathaniel Beers, member of the Council on School Health for the American Academy of Pediatrics. If schooling is not happening in person, said Beers, who also led multiple roles in the District of Columbia Public Schools system, “it is harder to enforce.” Public health officials have relied on schools as a means to control vaccine-preventable diseases for over a century.