On Tuesday, writing for the Glens Falls Post-Star, columnist Gretta Hochsprung tore into Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the upstate New York lawmaker recently elected House GOP Conference chair, for spreading what she termed a "pro-COVID agenda" by inciting anger and opposition to public health measures.
Hochsprung took particular aim at Stefanik's tweet earlier in the week, in which she proclaimed, "No vaccine mandates for teachers No vaccine mandates for students. No mandates for anyone. And unmask our kids!"
Stefanik gained national attention in 2019 for her intense defense of then-President Donald Trump during his first impeachment.
"Children entering school in New York are required to have had seven vaccines, and middle and high school students must have a couple more. You can get an exemption if you have a medical condition that qualifies. No other sort of exemption, not for religious, cultural or 'it's a free country' reasons is granted," wrote Hochsprung. "We assume Stefanik is referring to the COVID-19 vaccines, although she doesn't say that. But what makes the COVID-19 vaccine any different from the hepatitis B vaccine or the chickenpox vaccine? Hepatitis B and chickenpox did not kill more than half a million people over the course of the past year, and that is because most of us were vaccinated for those viruses when we were kids."
Allowing unvaccinated students and teachers to spread COVID-19 at schools unchecked, Hochsprung warned, would have dire consequences, as the highly infectious Delta variant continues to explode.
"We don't know why, as a federal representative, Stefanik is expending her energy on public school policy, which is the purview of the states," wrote Hochsprung. "Like everyone else, we are weary of dealing with COVID-19. Being weary or angry or rebellious doesn't make the virus go away, however, while vaccinations and mask-wearing do."
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