Fauci: Not All Teachers Need to Be Vaccinated to Open Schools

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National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that vaccinating all teachers was not a requirement for schools to reopen safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Partial transcript as follows:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Fauci, thanks for joining us again this morning. I want to get to the vaccines in a moment, but I know you heard that debate at the end of our roundtable right now about reopening schools. And I wonder if you can shed some light on that. The new CDC guidelines don’t require that teachers get vaccinated before reopening. What do you say to teachers who are concerned about going back into the classroom without being vaccinated?

FAUCI: You know, there’s a lot of layering to the mitigations, George. And I think the point to make, it’s totally understandable, teachers’ concern. I mean, we appreciate that. The issue is that there are a lot of things that can be done. And they are really delineated pretty clearly in this 24-page document that you referred to in the roundtable with the guidelines that are coming out that would make the risk less. And this is the first time that it’s been put down in a document based on scientific observations and data over the last several months to a year, both in the United States and elsewhere. Part of that is to indicate and to suggest strongly that a preference be given to teachers to get vaccinated.

So, vaccinating teachers are part of it, but it’s not a sine qua non. It’s not something that you can’t open a school unless all the teachers are vaccinated. That would be optimal, if you could do that. But, practically speaking, when you balance the benefit of getting the children back to school with the fact that the risks are being mitigated if you follow the recommendations and these new guidelines from the CDC, hopefully, I think that will alleviate the concerns on both sides.