Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Greg Nash

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases doctor, on Tuesday said he supports any effort from local governments to mandate that teachers be vaccinated against the coronavirus. 

“I’m going to upset people on this, but I think we should [mandate teacher vaccinations],” Fauci said during an appearance on MSNBC. “I mean, we are in a critical situation now. We have had 615,000 deaths and we are in a major surge now as we’re going into the fall, into the school season. This is very serious business.”

Fauci had been asked about comments made over the weekend by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten in which she indicated she would also support mandating coronavirus vaccinations for all teachers across the country. 

“As a matter of personal conscience, I think that we need to be working with our employers, not opposing them on vaccine mandates,” Weingarten said on Sunday in an appearance on “Meet The Press.” “And so I said last week that I wanted to bring my leadership together, and we are this week to, you know, revisit and to reconsider our policy that we passed in October about voluntary — that the best way to do this was to do it volitionally.”

The delta variant of the virus has sent daily case counts and hospitalization rates soaring in recent weeks, especially in portions of the country with lower vaccination rates. In several states where local leaders have resisted mask mandates, the spread is especially prevalent among children, a demographic for which a vaccination has not been approved for use.

Fauci, and other leading public health officials, have said that all eligible adults becoming vaccinated against the virus is the surest way to slow the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant and ensure a safe return to the classroom this fall.

“You would wish that people would see why it’s so important for people to get vaccinated,” Fauci said. “But you’re not going to get mandates, centrally, from the federal government.”

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) threatened on Monday that the Florida Board of Education could withhold the salaries of superintendents and school board members who defy his ban on facial covering mandates.

And during an appearance on Fox News later Monday night, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said people should resist mandates from the government of any kind, including mask mandates and vaccine requirements.

“I’m sorry. I know people must like to have their individual freedom and not be told to do something,” Fauci said. “But I think that we’re in such a serious situation now, that under certain circumstances, mandates should be done.” 

Tags Anthony Fauci Coronavirus COVID-19 Dr. Anthony Fauci Dr. Fauci mask mandates Pandemic Ron DeSantis Ted Cruz Vaccine Vaccine hesitancy

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