The coronavirus vaccination rate among teenagers in D.C. has some city officials alarmed about outbreaks amid the return of in-school instruction in the fall as the delta variant spreads.

The D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education reported at least 60% of children ages 12-15 in Wards 2 and 3 have received at least one dose of the coronavirus but in Wards 7 and 8 located east of the Anacostia River, fewer than 10% of the young people in the same age group have received at least one dose.

The D.C. vaccine dashboard shows that 31.6% of whites, 24.9% of Blacks and 33.1% of Asian and Pacific Islander residents as being fully vaccinated but the inoculation rates for children ages 12-15 are starker with 3,200 white youngsters fully immunized as opposed to 1,564 for Blacks and 295 for Asian and Pacific Islanders.

Elizabeth Stuart, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said the discrepancy highlights a lack of vaccine uptake in the city’s lower-income neighborhoods, reflecting the need for communities across the country to improve their “ground game.”

The D.C. public schools don’t require students to be vaccinated in order to be instructed live. However, the city health department guidelines request unvaccinated people exposed to the coronavirus to be quarantined, which could possibly mean students in lower vaccinated wards may be more likely to miss school, WTOP reported.

To thwart that scenario, District lawmakers are calling on the Bowser administration to increase accessibility at popular destinations as well as pools and recreation centers.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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