A private school in Florida is warning teachers against taking the COVID-19 jab, threatening to sack those who did. The school, which is reportedly founded by anti-vaccination activist, also barred vaccinated teachers from coming into contact with students, claiming that the educators pose a health risk. The move by Centner Academy is seen as a classic case of misinformation, as the United States has ramped up its effort to vaccinate the entire population.
The academy in Miami sent an email to parents on Monday informing them of a new policy for its two campuses for about 300 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The email by co-founder Leila Centner said that vaccinated people "may be transmitting something from their bodies" that could harm others, in particular the "reproductive systems, fertility, and normal growth and development in women and children."
Teachers or staff who have already taken the vaccine were reportedly told to continue coming to school but to 'stay away' from students.
Centner acknowledged that the assertion, which is false, "is new and is yet to be researched."
The school also urged faculty and staff members who have not yet been vaccinated to wait until the end of the school year to do so "until there is further research available on whether this experimental drug is impacting unvaccinated individuals."
US health regulators and the World Health Organization have said that the three vaccines - Pfizer, Moderna and J&J - being used in the US on an emergency basis are safe and effective.
More than half of all US adults have now received at least one of two vaccine doses and new COVID-19 cases are also falling, which has led to President Joe Biden announcing a no-mask option on Tuesday, but with caution.
The Centner Academy was founded in 2018, has about 300 students and charges some $30,000 a year in tuition for middle school, according to its website. The school authorities donated heavily to Donald Trump's re-election campaign and the Republican Party, while giving smaller amounts to local Democrats, said The New York Times, which first reported the school's email to parents.
Aileen Marty, a physician and infectious disease specialist at Florida International University, described the email as "sad."
"It gives the illusion that she's basing it on facts," Marty told the Miami Herald.
"But there's not one citation, there's not one physician or scientist whose name is spelled out in there. There's no references. There's nothing. There is no scientific evidence provided."