The nation’s top infectious disease expert says he believes teachers in the U.S. should be mandated to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before the start of the new school year.
In an appearance on MSNBC on Monday, Dr Anthony Fauci said it’s necessary for teachers to receive vaccines could be needed to prevent outbreaks at schools.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he would support any local governments that put these mandates in place.
His statements come as employer-based vaccine mandates are slowly becoming more popular around the country, despite running into some notable opposition.
Dr Anthony Fauci (pictured) told MSNBC that he would support vaccine mandates for teachers across th country ahead of the return to schools this fall
The second-largest teacher’s union, the American Federation of Teachers may rescind a policy from October 2020 opposing these mandates, its president said. Pictured: A member of the Maryland National Guard receives a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine in Wheaton, Maryland on May 21
‘I’m going to upset people on this but I think we should,’ Fauci said, when asked if teachers should be mandated to receive the vaccine.
‘I mean, we are in a critical situation now. We have had 615,000 deaths and we are in a major surge now as we’re going into the fall, into the school season. This is very serious business.’
Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) – the second largest teacher’s union – said that her organization would be willing to work with employers on these types of mandates.
The AFT previously voted to oppose these types of measure in October 2020.
‘As a matter of personal conscious, I think that we need to be working with our employers, not opposing them on vaccine mandates,’ she said during an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday.
‘And so I said last week that I wanted to bring my leadership together, and we are this week to revisit and to reconsider our policy that we passed in October about voluntary, that the best way to do this was to do it volitionally.’
Many K-12 schools are set to return for the 2021-2022 school year within the next month.
While the pandemic disrupted the 2019-2020 school year, and last year was held remotely in some areas of the country, almost all schools around America will be back to in-person learning this fall.
The return to in-person learning is approaching as America once again loses control of its Covid situation.
An Indian ‘Delta’ variant -fueled outbreak has caused the nation to eclipse over 100,000 average new cases a day for the first time since February.
Over the past two weeks, average daily cases have grown from 63,361 on July 27 to 124,470 on August 9 – a 96 percent increase in cases.
New cases are largely concentrated in areas with lower vaccination rates, though, as health experts still recommend that the vaccine is the safest and most effective way to prevent complications related to COVID-19.
Currently, 58.8 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and around half of the population is fully vaccinated.
Many children are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, though, as only Americans 12 years of age or older can get the shots right now.
Experts like Fauci believe that requiring teachers and staff to receive the vaccine can still prevent Covid spread.
‘You would wish that people would see why it’s so important for people to get vaccinated,’ Fauci said.
The federal government has said they will not institute any national level vaccine mandates, though they have encouraged private employers to push their employees to get the shots.
Seven states have banned employers from doing so, though – Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee and Utah.
Florida Gov Ron DeSantis has threatened to withhold funding from schools that implement mask mandates.
Texas Gov Greg Abbot also banned the use of mask mandates in schools.
Both governors are receiving legal pushback, with counties and individual schools threatening to defy the governors’ orders.