President of second largest teachers union is open to vaccination mandate
The head of the American Federation of Teachers told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the union's leadership should consider supporting a vaccine mandate for teachers in schools.
Why it matters: The move would mark a policy reversal from last October, when the union allowed vaccinations on a voluntary basis. AFT President Randi Weingarten called the Delta variant of the virus "alarming" and voiced concern for children who cannot yet be vaccinated.
What they're saying: "[V]accines are the single most important way of dealing with COVID, we've always dealt with or — since 1850 — we've dealt with vaccines in schools, it's not a new thing to have immunizations in schools," Weingarten said.
- Weingarten noted that "circumstances have changed" since the union's original policy was implemented in October.
- "It weighs really heavily on me that kids under 12 can't get vaccinated," she added.
The big picture: The American Federation of Teachers is the second largest teachers union in the country and leadership will convene this week to consider a formal policy change, Weingarten said.
- Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, told the New York Times last week that vaccine mandates should be negotiated at the local level.
- NIAID director Anthony Fauci told Meet the Press in a separate segment on Sunday that children who aren't be vaccinated should be surrounded by vaccinated adults in schools.