NEW YORK (LifeSiteNews) – New York’s vaccination mandate for public school teachers and staff did not go into effect Monday as planned, thanks to a last-minute temporary restraining order out of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio had announced in August that the city public school system’s 148,000-some employees would have to receive at least a first dose of one of the COVID-19 vaccines by September 27, the Associated Press reported, with no option to submit to regular COVID testing instead.
“Those who continue to decline the shot must take a year of unpaid leave with health benefits or exit the [city Department of Education] with severance pay,” the New York Post added. “The DOE offered medical and religious exemptions, but is said to be granting them sparingly.”
“Rather than negotiating with Local 237 prior to announcing and implementing the vaccine mandate to avoid this very problem, the City and NYPD now place the burden of their ill-considered policy choice on the backs” of the school safety agents, reads a complaint by Teamsters chapter Local 237 regarding a potential mandate-induced shortage of almost 1,500 school safety agents.
A group of teachers sued, and a Second Circuit judge agreed to enjoin the mandate and expedite the case’s progression to a three-judge panel.
“We’re confident our vaccine mandate will continue to be upheld once all the facts have been presented, because that is the level of protection our students and staff deserve,” responded Education Department spokeswoman Danielle Filson. Despite the setback, the department still emailed principals over the weekend advising that they “should continue to prepare for the possibility that the vaccine mandate will go into effect later in the week.”
Eighty-two percent of educational employees in the Big Apple have reportedly taken the shot, including 88 percent of teachers. Still, the mandate has been met by opposition by local education-worker unions, as well as fears that it could leave area schools short staffed by as many as 10,000 educators. De Blasio claims to have “a lot of substitutes ready” if need be.
Many Americans continue to harbor concerns that the COVID vaccines have not been sufficiently studied for negative effects given their accelerated clinical trials. Vaccine defenders note that the one-year development period was not starting from scratch, but rather relied on years of prior research into mRNA technology; and that one of the innovations of the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” was conducting various aspects of the development process concurrently rather than sequentially, eliminating delays unrelated to safety. However, those factors do not fully account for the condensing of clinical trial phases — each of which can take anywhere from one to three years on their own — to just three months apiece.
While cases of severe harm reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) after taking COVID shots represent less than one percent of total doses administered in the United States, a 2010 report submitted to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) warned that VAERS caught “fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events.” On the problem of underreporting, the VAERS website offers simply that “more serious and unexpected medical events are probably more likely to be reported than minor ones” (emphasis added).
This past May, NBC News published a report acknowledging experts’ concerns about “gaps” in federal monitoring of the COVID vaccines. While the government currently relies on a “hodgepodge” of sources for safety data, the report explained, the quoted experts call for a more “robust ‘active’ surveillance system [that] can search large volumes of patient care records to compare rates of adverse events in people who received vaccines with those who didn’t.”
Such concerns were intensified last week by a Project Veritas report showing insiders at Phoenix Indian Medical Center, a federal facility, speaking candidly about serious medical complications they’ve seen after COVID vaccination that are not being reported. Acknowledging the COVID vaccines’ potential dangers would severely undermine the Biden administration’s heavy investment in the idea that the vaccines are the key to ending the pandemic.
WABC reported that the next hearing on the New York mandate for education personnel is slated for this Wednesday, September 29.