To the Editor:
I am disappointed and alarmed to see EdWeek, usually a very reputable source of education policy information, give uncritical space to people who ignore our public health experts (“Why This Science Teacher Doesn’t Want the COVID Vaccine,” Aug. 17, 2021). When you publish Davis Eidahl’s uninformed viewpoints and emphasize that he is a science teacher, you build baseless doubts about an extremely safe vaccine. The scientific facts are that the COVID-19 vaccine is effective and saves lives.
People who refuse to get the vaccine put others at risk—children who are too young to get the vaccine and people who cannot get it for medical reasons. As educators, we have a responsibility to protect our students. Those who refuse to do so shirk their responsibility and hide behind the claim that getting their shot is an individual decision. It is not. It is a choice that impacts everyone around them. Public health and infectious disease control, like education, is a right and a responsibility for the entire community.
I hope that you will soon publish articles of interviews with students who lost grandparents, parents, and siblings to this terrible disease. You could interview teachers and principals who lost colleagues before the vaccine was ready. I wonder what all those millions of people who lost loved ones to COVID-19 would have to say to Eidhal. Perhaps you could find some medical professionals who sat with mothers and fathers as they died alone in hospital rooms. Maybe Eidhal and people like him would fulfill their civic duty if they heard more of those stories instead of rumors.
A version of this article appeared in the September 01, 2021 edition of Education Week as Educators Have a Responsibility to Support the Common Good