AFT Head Weingarten Backs Mandatory Vax for Teachers

American Federation of Teachers head Randi Weingarten on Sunday endorsed mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for teachers.

In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,” Weingarten said schools have been dealing with vaccines for generations.

“It’s not a new thing to have immunizations in schools,” she said. “And I think that on a personal matter, as a matter of personal conscience, I think we need to be working with our employers, not opposing them, on vaccine mandates and all their vaccine policies.”

According to Weingarten, the union is involved in a “full-court press for back to school.”

“The delta variants are alarming, and the spread is alarming…. vaccines are the single most important way of dealing with COVID,” she said, adding: We have to counter the misinformation. This is a public health crisis and the politics are infecting it.”

She said, however, “we have to honor those religious exemptions” to vaccines.

“There’s ways of which you can do accommodations in all sorts of different ways which is part of the reason you have to work together on these vaccine policies,” she said.

“I thought what [President] Joe Biden did in terms of the federal government of saying vaccine or test is important and we’re supporting that,” she said. “I thought what [New York Democratic Mayor] Bill de Blasio did [on mandatory face masks] was important as well — the combination of vaccines and masks I think will protect our youngest children.”

Last month, delegates at the National Education Association’s annual meeting, held virtually, voted down a proposal that would have called for extreme measures to return to post-pandemic in-classroom instruction this fall, including mandatory vaccinations and mask wearing.

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