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Reporter corners DC mayor with her own data on city’s vaccine mandate hurting black students — but she denies it anyway

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) erroneously rejected a reporter’s question on Monday by objecting to data he cited and thus the premise of the question.

But the reporter was citing the city’s own data.

What is the background?

All students in Washington, D.C., ages 12 and older are required to be inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine to attend school.

But if students are not in vaccine compliance, they cannot attend school in person. The decision, made by the D.C. City Council, is expected to disproportionately impact black students.

In fact, a report compiled by the Council Office on Racial Equity discovered that “enforcement of the [mandate] will exacerbate racial inequity by disproportionately removing Black students from school. This may result in increased learning loss, additional negative social and educational outcomes and in blocking students from vital school resources.”

What happened with Bowser?

At a press conference, Daily Signal reporter Douglas Blair confronted Bowser over the impact the vaccine mandate will have on black students.

The exchange happened two weeks before students in the nation’s capital will return to the classroom.

“Around 40% of black students in the district are unvaccinated and, therefore, under the district’s current policy regarding schools, will be unable to attend school,” Blair noted.

“Why is the district continuing with this policy when it seems to disproportionately impact black students?” he asked.

Instead of engaging the substance of Blair’s question, Bowser dismissed the premise by questioning the data.

“I don’t think that number is correct,” the mayor responded. “We have substantially fewer number of kids that we have to engage with vaccination. And I explained why it’s important. It’s important for the public health of our students and that we can maintain safe environments.”

u201cI asked D.C. @MayorBowser how she could justify forcing 40% of unvaccinated black students to stay home from school. She said my numbers were wrong. They’re her numbers.u201d

— Douglas Blair (@Douglas Blair)
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Bowser, however, is wrong.

In fact, data released by her own government shows that only 61% of black teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and thus in compliance with the city’s vaccine mandate for students.

By contrast, city data show that 99% of white teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, D.C. Department of Health spokeswoman Kelsey Felton contends that the vaccination figure for black teenagers is likely higher because the D.C. data only accounts for people vaccinated in the district.

“The actual percentages are likely higher because not all vaccines administered outside of the District are known to DC Health,” Felton told the Daily Wire. “The race-specific coverage number is particularly likely to be an underestimate because the COVID-19 vaccination records DC Health does receive from outside of the District often do not include both age and race.”