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Close-up of folder containing medical forms labeled Refusal to Vaccinate. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Students enrolled in the Seattle Public School district who are unvaccinated will not be allowed to attend classes starting Jan. 8, district officials have warned, per the Seattle Times.

The big picture: With cases of contagious but preventable diseases like measles spiking to new highs in recent years, cities and schools have been trying to mandate vaccinations to keep illnesses at bay.

Why it matters: Under a new law, Washington state no longer allows vaccination exemptions for personal reasons, which has further complicated the issue for schools.

The state of play: Starting Jan. 8, Seattle Public Schools' 53,000 students will need immunization papers for illnesses such as polio, hepatitis B and the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR).

  • The district sent letters to the families 2,247 students who still aren't vaccinated. If they fail to provide immunization paperwork by Jan. 6, they will receive a warning call.
  • Students without records who still show up for school will be sent to a designated room as their families are notified, district spokesman Tim Robinson told the Seattle Times.

Go deeper: The intensifying national debate over vaccine exemption rules

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.