Thursday, July 22, 2021

Should Vaccines Be Mandated for School Personnel?

Chalkbeat wonders whether school personnel will be the next to have required vaccines. Mayor de Blasio, of course, is thinking about it. Thinking about stuff is what Mayor de Blasio does best. When it comes time to actually do things, he has issues. So while he thinks about it, and while Chalkbeat wonders, I have to say that it's a no-brainer.

We are role models. We can't be dragged into the idiotic debate over whether or not humans ought to protect ourselves from a deadly virus. Sure, the Trumpies will say it's not fully approved, but holy crap, the people really suffering from COVID these days are the unvaccinated. Everything I read suggests that the benefits of the vaccination far outweigh the risks. 

It would be great if the feds were to officially approve this vaccine and thus remove the spurious argument that it isn't official. This would do a great deal to encourage employers to issue vaccine mandates. It galls me that even Eva Moskowitz has mandated vaccination for her little work camp-test prep factories while we sit on our hands. She's finally found an issue in which she's right and we're wrong.

UFT leadership, I suppose, sees this as a hot potato, and that it is. Lots of us are nervous, and lots of us are Trump supporters. Trump supporters may sit in front of a TV, watch Tucker Carlson lie about vaccines, watch idiots compare vaccine supporters to nazis, and fancy themselves rugged individualists for refusing to comply. 

In fact, among NYPD, which supported Trump in 2020, only 43% appear to be fully vaccinated. That's sad and depressing. First of all, a whole lot of NYPD interacts with the public as a matter of course. That's something we have in common. Chalkbeat suggests at least 58% of us are vaccinated, and hopefully many of us, like me, have simply been vaccinated somewhere unrecorded by the city. 

I know people who've gotten awfully sick from COVID, including one of my colleagues in his 30s. He spent weeks in the hospital, but is thankfully fully recovered. I have other colleagues who've lost parents, and who will be forever asking themselves whether or not they brought the disease home to them. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. 

Of course every single UFT member should be vaccinated. And of course the city should insist on it. Will de Blasio muster the intestinal fortitude to take a stand? That's hard to say, given his tendency to wait until the last possible minute to make decisions and his affinity for leaving everything in a state of total chaos. Who can forget the dance that was the delayed opening last year?

We are, thankfully, mostly intact after the worst year in our history. Hopefully UFT-negotiatedf safeguards will remain in place to avert the sort of disaster de Blasio would happily dump on us. But given the wide availability and proven effectiveness of this vaccine, it would be folly not to insist that everyone coming into contact with children receive it. 

This is particularly crucial since children under 12 are thus far ineligible to be vaccinated. That's an even larger issue, but if we aren't willing to be vaccinated until we damn well feel like it, it's going to be even harder to get our kids to take it when it becomes available. 

As educators, it really behooves us to do the right thing here.  Barring rare medical exceptions, that right thing is for every single one of us to get vaccinated before school starts.

blog comments powered by Disqus