The situation with anti-vaxxers is just getting worse and worse. Across the country, anti-vaxxers have been targeting school district and health officials who promote masks in schools under the guise of protecting their 'rights' as parents. But these misguided parents aren't the only ones targeting the vaccinated: Some actual schools are targeting not only parents who support masks, but teachers and students who wish to be vaccinated.
After making headlines in April for barring teachers who got the COVID-19 vaccine from interacting with students, a Miami private school announced last week that children who are vaccinated will have to stay home for 30 days after each shot.
The announcement first reported by local news outlet WSVN was shared via an email to parents, warning them that if they are "considering the vaccine for your Centner Academy student(s), we ask that you hold off until the Summer when there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease."
According to school officials, the quarantine is being placed because of concerns of vaccine side effects and spread of COVID-19, in addition to fears that children who are vaccinated pose a threat to those who are not.
"Because of the potential impact on other students and our school community, vaccinated students will need to stay at home for 30 days post-vaccination for each dose and booster they receive and may return to school after 30 days as long as the student is healthy and symptom-free," the letter to parents from Center Academy read.
In a statement to The Washington Post, David Centner, one of the school's co-founders, reiterated the concern over COVID-19 spread, claiming the policy was based on "numerous anecdotal cases that have been in circulation." "The school is not opining as to whether unexplained phenomena have a basis in fact, however we prefer to err on the side of caution when making decisions that impact the health of the school community," Centner said.
While these false claims and myths have been debunked multiple times by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which noted that coronavirus does not "shed or release any of their components" through air or skin contact, such conspiracy theories are rampant, especially in Florida. Additionally, since none of the three vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration use live viruses, the CDC has confirmed that they cannot make one sick with COVID-19.
"What happens 30 days after they get vaccinated? What kind of nonsense is this?" Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University, said. "Where did they get that? There's nothing in the recommendations to that… they made that up. That's science fiction, not even science fiction because it's pure fiction."
In April, the Centner Academy said employees who got the vaccine after April 22 would not be allowed to return to work at the school. However, the private school later told WSVN that teachers and employees who did decide to get vaccinated would not be fired, just not allowed to work with students.
That letter sent in April also included misleading claims that unvaccinated women have experienced miscarriages and other reproductive issues from standing near vaccinated people.
Despite its anti-vaxx ideology and targeting of those who get vaccinated, school officials claimed they are not anti-vaxx.
In the letter to parents regarding the vaccine quarantine, school officials referred to COVID-19 vaccines as "experimental vaccines" and claimed that while they respect the choice of individuals to get vaccinated, they were concerned about the entire school community.
"Centner Academy's top priorities are our students' well-being and their sense of safety within our educational environment. We will continue to act in accordance with these priorities. The email that was sent to families today was grounded in these priorities," a co-owner of the school told WSVN.
The letter follows various recommendations from health officials and research proving that vaccines are the most efficient way to not only stop the spread of COVID-19 but prevent one from getting it.
"I don't find the letter interesting, I find it sad," Marty said. "I find it terrible that there's all this misleading information coming out of an institution that allegedly is an educational institution." Marty continued: "The technology is not new. The technology is well established and it's based on the best science we have."
Children nationwide are being infected with COVID-19 at alarming rates, causing many schools to close down within days of opening. In Miami alone, more than 2,000 students have been infected with the virus.
As of this report, Florida has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection nationwide with a daily average of 2,600 new cases reported, according to data compiled by The New York Times.