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Alabama educators react to call for mandated teacher vaccinations

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Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 3:37 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The country’s top infectious disease advisor says teachers should be mandated to get COVID vaccinations.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said the country is seeing a major surge of cases as the school year is beginning.

In Birmingham, a teacher and a teacher union head both agree more needs to be done to contain and slow the spread of COVID-19, but they both question if mandating teachers to get shots will do the trick.

Birmingham schools have started back. Unfortunately, Quiantranese Felder, a nine year veteran in the Birmingham school system, was not able to be there because she came down with COVID.

“I could not even talk. I had to text to communicate with my parents, to my family,” Felder said.

Felder was also fully vaccinated and she still had to be hospitalized. So what does she think of a mandate for teachers to get COVID shots?

“It might reduce our chances of being as sick with COVID, however being vaccinated and having that experience myself I don’t know if that is completely true,” Felder said.

The American Federation of Teachers is also raising questions about having a teacher vaccination mandate.

“I have a lot of educators who are afraid you know of getting the vaccine and some on their personal belief don’t want to get vaccinated because it’s so new,” Richard Franklin with the American Federation of Teachers said.

Franklin and Felder both said a number of Birmingham teachers are not happy and are afraid about returning to the classroom with the Delta variant spreading across the state so rapidly.

“They are all fearful. I haven’t spoke with are not afraid of this virus, especially with it spreading so fast,” Felder said.

Franklin agreed. “It’s spread just like they said it would. But the concern is not just Birmingham - what is our plan statewide, our plan nationally?” Franklin said.

While both support vaccinations, they say more has to be done. Felder and Franklin said teachers want a return to virtual learning because of the Delta variant spread being so contagious and even a threat to those who are vaccinated.

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