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Governance Document

NEA Position on COVID-19 Vaccinations for Students

NEA supports widespread use of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations for children under 16 years old.
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Published: 05/07/2021

NEA Resolution C-2, “Vaccinations,” remains the foundation of NEA’s position on vaccines, including those for COVID-19: 

    The National Education Association believes that vaccines are essential medical tools in preventing infectious diseases. The Association acknowledges that vaccines must be pervasive to be effective. 

    The Association also believes that parents/guardians should follow vaccination guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Association further believes that state legislatures should establish clear guidelines for waivers that minimize the numbers of unvaccinated students to those necessary due to documented medical conditions. Evidence-based vaccination campaigns are integral in maintaining student and community health. (2015, 2016)

NEA encourages widespread use of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations and is particularly concerned with ensuring that long-standing racial inequities in health care are addressed as part of all vaccination campaigns. 

NEA has joined with numerous education, public and child health, labor, and children’s advocacy groups to support development and distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations for children under 16 years old. As rates of infection in children rise, vaccinating children is increasingly urgent both to facilitate safe in-person education and to curb further mutations of the virus that causes the disease. We have already seen how COVID-19 mutations can threaten the effectiveness of existing vaccines in adults, and they may create the potential for variants that pose a greater risk to children. Broader vaccine usage throughout the population, including in children, reduces the opportunities for new variants to develop. For PK-12 students, NEA urges parents and guardians to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The Association recognizes that racial inequities within the health care system have been heightened by the pandemic, including less access to vaccines in communities that have already suffered disproportionate health impacts from the pandemic. We urge CDC and other governmental agencies to explicitly recognize the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities, and ensure that vaccines are equitably distributed. Vaccine distribution planning and evidence-based vaccination campaigns must specifically address the disproportionate suffering in communities of color and must account for any vaccine hesitancy based on historical abuses and medical research exploitation of communities of color. 

Increasing vaccination rates at colleges and universities is also critical, as many campuses have seen COVID-19 outbreaks. NEA continues to urge that all educators – including all faculty, staff, and graduate research and teaching assistants--at institutions of higher education – receive priority for access to COVID-19 vaccines. Students attending classes in-person and all those living on campus should be encouraged to be vaccinated. NEA supports efforts to establish mass vaccination sites on college and university campuses to expand vaccine distribution for students, faculty and staff.
 

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National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.