Public health urges more COVID vaccines for kids ahead of back to school

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is urging more COVID-19 vaccines for kids ahead of the back to school season. 

Some school districts throughout LA County are foregoing weekly COVID testing and required masking for the 2022-2023 school year. The Los Angeles Unified School District — the largest in the county and the second largest in the U.S. — announced last week that they would require neither weekly testing nor masks. 

"Vaccines continue to provide the best protection against severe illness in children, as children who are unvaccinated are more likely to become seriously ill and require hospitalization," Public Health said in a press release.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: LAUSD announces COVID protocols for 22-23 school year

Currently, just 35% of school-aged children between five and 11 are vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the department, while 79% of children aged 12-17 are vaccinated. According to county figures, for the 90-day period ending July 21, unvaccinated children ages 12-17, were more than four times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated children in the same age group.

In addition to getting vaccinated, Public Health recommends the following to limit the spread of coronavirus in the coming school year:

  • Don't go to school if you're feeling ill
  • Get tested if you're symptomatic or exposed to someone who's tested positive
  • Wear masks indoors
  • Practice proper hand hygiene

Over the last month, 9% of all reported COVID cases in Los Angeles County have been in children between five and 17, according to Public Health. 

LAUSD returns to classes on Monday, August 15.