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Amherst Becomes First School District In Massachusetts To Require COVID Vaccine For Eligible Students

AMHERST (CBS) – Starting December 1, all Amherst Public School students 16 and older will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 if they want to continue attending classes.

The Amherst School Committee voted unanimously this week to put the mandate in place after the Board of Health added the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine to the list of required immunizations.

That makes Amherst the first in Massachusetts to do so.

"For us it's really about safety," Superintendent of School Michael Morris told WBZ-TV.

Morris said there has been strong support for the mandate from those within the district.

"Frankly I have not received negative feedback from anyone in the district. The feedback that has been perhaps negative has come from folks who don't have children in the district, who aren't staff members in the district. We received a lot of support from folks who are in the district."

Amherst health officials have held several public information sessions about vaccination in recent months, with another one scheduled for Wednesday.

Morris thinks more schools may follow suit in requiring vaccines.

"I have received a number of communications from other districts around the Commonwealth," said Morris. "Hard for me to predict, but I know that I've experienced a lot of interest and inquiries from other districts about how this went about."

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