Charlottesville area doctors pushing COVID-19 vaccine mandates for teachers, other professionals

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 2:01 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As the delta variant spreads, many doctors are pushing for schools and health organizations to require the COVID-19 vaccine for all employees.

“I think it makes a lot of sense for the adults who are going to be in close contact with them to be required to be vaccinated,” Dr. Taison Bell with University of Virginia Health said.

With students going back to school, Bell wants a vaccine mandate for people who work with them.

“What are the higher risk settings where a child could actually become infected? In schools, definitely, one of those even with mitigation measures,” Bell said. “Combine that with the fact that we have very safe and effective vaccines, I think it makes sense to require the teachers and staff to be vaccinated.”

A spokesperson for Albemarle County Public Schools says the district is not requiring teachers to get vaccinated.

“From my standpoint, I certainly would want to know, at least the vaccination rate of the adults and faculty that are going to be at the schools my children will be in,” Bell said. “I do think that’s information that parents need to know in order to make a decision about how to protect their children.”

Roughly 56% of people in the Blue Ridge Health District are fully vaccinated, a statistic Dr. Patrick Jackson is not happy with.

“At the end of the day, if your job is to serve the public - especially as an employee of government - you can really only do that in a way that’s safe for the public by getting vaccinated yourself,” Jackson said.

Jackson says he wants to see vaccine mandates in other professions, too.

“Law enforcement, people who are providing social services as members of state and local governments, people providing transportation, healthcare workers. There are large categories of folks who really have an obligation to get vaccinated,” Jackson said.

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