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Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

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.

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Oct 15, 2021 - Health

FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adults

Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel on Friday unanimously endorsed a booster shot for adult recipients of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after the initial dose.

Why it matters: The advisory committee raised concerns about a dearth of data to support their decision but ultimately decided to support an additional shot for those over 18.

Updated Oct 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Booster shots overtake first doses in the U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate entire Brazilian city as part of study — FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adultsU.S. to lift restrictions for fully vaccinated international travelers on Nov. 8.
  2. Health: New cases down, but the West is at risk — Low vaccination rates exacerbate America's caregiving crisis — COVID is here to stay. So what does "victory" look like? — FDA will review Merck COVID-19 pill.
  3. Politics: NHL announces all but four players have been vaccinated — WHO names new advisory group on COVID origins — Biden admin warns Moderna to "step up" global vaccine supply.
  4. Education: LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations amid staffing shortage — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive — Arizona can't use aid for anti-mask education grants, Treasury says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 15, 2021 - Health

State COVID lotteries did not increase vaccination rates, study finds

California Gov. Gavin Newsom at a drawing for the state's Vax for the Win program in June. Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

None of the 19 states that implemented statewide COVID-19 vaccine lotteries this summer saw an increase in vaccination rates as a result of the incentive programs, according to a study published Friday in Jama Health Forum.

Why it matters: The study is the first to examine the effectiveness of 19 state-run lotteries, and offers insight into how governments can better craft incentive-based policies, said Andrew Friedson, one of the study's authors and an associate professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver.