A Miami private school said it won't employ anyone who has received the Covid-19 vaccine, citing concerns that the injection might not be safe.
Centner Academy outlined its controversial policy in a letter to parents, encouraging faculty and staff to hold off on being vaccinated "until there is further research available." Those who do wish to be vaccinated are asked to wait until the end of the school year.
"This was not an easy decision to make," the letter stated. "It was a consensus from our advisors that until this topic is investigated more thoroughly, it is in the best interests of the children to protect them from the unknown implications of being in close proximity for the entire day with a teacher who has very recently taken the Covid-19 injection."
The school said it won't employ anyone who has been vaccinated "until further information is known."
"We are not 100% sure the Covid-19 injections are safe and there are too many unknown variables for us to feel comfortable at this current time," the school wrote. "Until more is known, we must err on the side of caution when it comes to the welfare of our students and school team."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday, but has said that the injections are "safe and effective."
"Covid-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA)," the agency said.
Long-term side effects from the shots are "extremely unlikely," according to the CDC. Between Dec. 14 and April 19, more than 211 million doses of the vaccine were administered in the United States, the agency noted.
"Millions of people in the United States have received Covid-19 vaccines, and these vaccines will undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that Covid-19 vaccines are safe," the CDC said.
One Centner Academy parent told NBC Miami that if she could pull her child out of the school now she would. However, she said she has already forked over $30,000 for tuition.
"The whole year has been unbelievably stressful for all of us to know what to do. And I don't know if there's going to be teachers there," said the mother, who did not want to be identified because she signed a document that prevents parents from criticizing the school. The news station referred to as "Lidia."
"They're very pro 'my body, my choice,' and yet, it's the complete opposite of that is what she's actually telling these teachers. It's your body, but it's her choice," she said.
Leila Centner, co-founder and CEO of Centner Academy, said in a statement that the school's response to the Covid-19 vaccine was made "out of an abundance of caution" and with "thoughtful decision-making."
She said that "tens of thousands of women all over the world" have reported reproductive issues from being in close proximity with someone who has been vaccinated — a claim that top medical experts have debunked.
"We know not everyone agrees on this topic, but this is our philosophy at Centner Academy, one in which many of our teachers and parents share," Centner said.