American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten personally came out in support of vaccine mandates for educators on Sunday, stating on NBC’s Meet the Press “circumstances have changed” and the union needs to work with schools on their vaccine policies. In recent days, Weingarten and the powerful union have come under criticism for stating that vaccinations should be negotiated by employees and “not coerced,” effectively opposing any mandates. Weingarten would then signal the AFT was rethinking its opposition to mandates, resulting in her personal support for mandatory vaccination for teachers on Sunday.
“It’s not a new thing to have immunizations in schools,” she said on Meet the Press. “And I think that on a personal matter, as a matter of personal conscience, I think we need to be working with our employers, not opposing them, on vaccine mandates and all their vaccine policies.” She went on to say that the union will “revisit and reconsider” their policy of voluntary vaccinations, adding that roughly 90 percent of union teachers have received the shot.
“I do think that the circumstances have changed and that vaccination is a community responsibility and it weighs really heavily on me that kids under 12 can’t get vaccinated,” she concluded.