The Pasadena [Updated] Board of Education on Thursday received briefings on COVID-19 vaccination efforts and insights from Pasadena Public Health Director Ying-Ying Goh and Director of PUSD’s Health Programs, Ana Maria “Ria” Apodaca.
The Board did not address the topic of a mandatory vaccination policy for PUSD staff or teachers. Last week, Pasadena City Manager Steve Mermell announced that the city will implement a policy requiring vaccinations for its 2,000 employees as COVID-19 transmission continues to rise in Pasadena.
Goh said there is a higher risk of transmission on campuses due to the high proportion of the unvaccinated population, since many students are not eligible yet for a vaccine. Vaccines currently are not administered to children younger than 12.
Goh said if every district employee will get vaccinated, there will be less risk of transmission and it will be less likely for the community to experience outbreaks. As a result, disruption in the operation of schools would be avoided.
“We know that COVID-19 is a deadly and dangerous disease and that it is very disruptive to any operation but very much so in a setting where many people may not be vaccinated because they are not eligible yet or otherwise.”
“With less and less vaccinated population, you end up with outbreaks that will result in illness that spreads to family members who may not be vaccinated.”
Goh said she believes a vaccine mandate would result in a greater likelihood of children being able to stay in schools because of lower transmission rates.
“What we really need to do is to get more people vaccinated and follow public health guidance which includes indoor masking right now in public spaces so that we can reduce our community case rates, so that we can support successful in-person schooling.”
According Apodaca, PUSD has administered 3,000 doses of vaccines at its PUSD Ed Center Clinics to date.
“We have fully vaccinated 1,512 staff, students and community members,” she told the school board during the meeting.
According to Apodaca, of this figure, about 1,300 are PUSD employees.
Aside from PUSD clinical staff, Apocada said the Pasadena Public Health Department has also administered 1,847 doses of vaccines at nine PUSD school-based clinics.
The Board decided to further discuss vaccine policy in a meeting on August 5. (There is currently no reference to this meeting currently appearing on the Pasadena Unified website.)