Dr. Fauci Doesn't Think You Need a Vaccine to Do This
Fauci joins the CDC in ruling out the need for one proposed vaccine plan.
As the COVID vaccine rollout continues to expand, the question of who should have priority access to the shot remains hotly debated. No group's vaccination status has sparked more controversy than teachers. While many experts contend that teachers should be prioritized for vaccination along with other essential workers, White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, warned that vaccinating all teachers before reopening schools is not a viable option. Keep reading for more of Fauci's insight on the controversy, and for more on the vaccine rollout, Dr. Fauci Says You'll Easily Get a Vaccine Appointment After This Date.
Dr. Fauci said vaccinating all teachers before reopening schools isn't possible.
During a Feb. 17 interview with CBS This Morning, co-anchor Tony Dokoupil broached the contentious topic of reopening schools. Fauci said that while "teachers should absolutely be priority among those we consider essential personnel," he thinks that vaccinating every teacher before opening up a school is not possible. "If you are going to say that every single teacher needs to be vaccinated before you get back to school, I believe quite frankly that's a non-workable situation," Fauci said.
"You should try to get as many teachers as you possibly can vaccinated as quickly as you possibly can. But to make it a sine qua non [necessary condition] that you don't open a school until every teacher is vaccinated, I think is not workable, and probably most of the teachers would agree with that," Fauci added. "You don't want to essentially have nobody in school until all the teachers get vaccinated." The infectious disease expert pointed out that this stance doesn't take away from the fact that he supports the vaccination of teachers. And for more on the benefits of vaccination, Dr. Fauci Just Confirmed You Can Do This After Getting Vaccinated.
The CDC's updated guidelines say that teachers do not need to be vaccinated before schools reopen.
The topic of vaccinating teachers came center stage after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their guidelines for opening schools. On Feb. 12, the agency amended its suggested strategy for schools to reopen safely, saying that vaccinating teachers offers an "additional layer of protection" but would not be a requirement to reopen. "Access to vaccination should not be considered a condition for reopening schools for in-person instruction," per the guidelines. And for more vaccine guidance, The CDC Says These 3 Side Effects Mean Your Vaccine Is Working.
Many health experts stand by the CDC guidelines.
Although the ruling that teachers don't need the vaccine in order to return to in-person learning has faced pushback, White House officials and other medical professionals have expressed their agreement. On Feb. 14, CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said, "I'm a strong advocate of teachers receiving their vaccinations, but we don't believe it's a prerequisite for reopening schools."
President Joe Biden's administration reportedly echoes this sentiment. "Teachers should be vaccinated … like other frontline workers," White House COVID response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Feb. 17. "But the president [and] vice president agree with the CDC guidelines that it's not a requirement to reopen." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Only half of U.S. states are vaccinating teachers right now.
Although parents and students are eager to get in-person learning up and running, a little more than half of U.S. states are prioritizing vaccinating teachers. The CDC guidelines noted that the "Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that frontline essential workers, including those who work in the education sector (teachers and school staff), be prioritized for vaccine allocation in phase 1b."
However, per CNN, only 28 states and the District of Columbia are currently allowing all or some teachers to receive the vaccine. And for more on the future of the pandemic, The CDC Says You Don't Have to Do This Anymore Once You're Vaccinated.