The National Education Association announced this week it will call for “mandatory safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations and testing for all students and staff before returning to face-to-face instruction in the fall.”
According to the NEA, “COVID-19 has already killed over 600,000 people. Black and Latinx communities have suffered twice the deaths, and this inequality will deepen as variants spread. The pandemic respects no boundaries. We must fight for a policy that puts human life first.”
According to Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, epidemiologist and professor of medicine at Stanford University, and director of Stanford’s Center for Demography and Economics of Health and Aging, the COVID vaccine does not benefit children. Speaking on a panel Wednesday, he added that the government cannot use the same argument to mandate the COVID vaccine as the Small Pox vaccine, which was deadly to most. “What intent does the state have in mandating in older people?” he asked. “Health intervention,” he said, but added that this vaccine needs a distinction from the MMR or Small Pox vaccines.
As for mandating that children must be vaccinated in the fall before going back to school, Bhattacharya said “this is deeply, deeply unethical. My calculation is that the vaccine is not that good for children. There’s almost no benefit to children. And everybody agrees with that,” he added.
“In that context, you’re just denying children the right to go to school,” he said. “Why would you do that? It’s much more harmful for them to skip school, like the last year and a half in California.”
“Are we going to compound that with another year of missed school for kids whose parents say rationally ‘my kids are not going to benefit from this [vaccine]. Why force them to take it?’” Bhattacharya asked.
“It’s a deeply unethical thing to do,” Bhattacharya said. “We’ve already undermined trust in public education in the country with the policies many of the states have adopted. This will just further that problem.”
“The mandate itself completely undermines trust in public health,” Bhattacharya said. “Like ‘if the government is forcing me, then what’s wrong with it?’”
“It’s perverse,” Bhattacharya added. “Why not just trust the public like adults? Tell them ‘here are the benefits and risks, here’s what it will do.’ That is the best way to get people to vaccinate when it makes sense.”
Parents throughout the country are pushing back against such unnecessary mandates. In California, the California Teachers Association labor union has greatly resisted reopening schools saying, “No school in a county where COVID-19 cases and transmission rates are in the Purple tier should be open for in-person instruction.”
This turned out to be a shakedown for more funding.
Most public schools, if they reopened at all, were only open for in-class instruction two days a week for three hours. Many parents felt that was a total waste and kept students home to finish the year.
The CTA never did address that schools throughout the country opened safely to in-classroom learning months ahead of California. It wasn’t the virus that kept California’s schools closed – it was politics.