COVID-19 vaccine

Miami Private School Co-Founder Doubles Down on Debunked COVID Claims

Centner Academy came under fire earlier this week for saying they won't employ anyone who received the COVID-19 vaccine

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A private school in Miami that discouraged teachers from getting the COVID-19 vaccine and said it won't employ anyone who received it held a meeting with parents Thursday, where the co-founder clarified the policy but still stuck to the debunked side effects of the vaccine on fertility.

The Centner Academy sent a notice to parents on Monday informing them of a new policy for its two campuses for about 300 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Teachers or staff who have already taken the vaccine were told to continue reporting to school but to stay separated from students.

Co-founder Leila Centner told employees in a letter last week that she made the policy decision with a “very heavy heart." Centner asked those who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine to wait until the end of the school year, and even then recommended holding off.

In Friday's last-minute meeting, Centner maintained that position, saying those who want the vaccine should wait.

"Basically, if you're going to get the vaccine over the summer, let's wait," explained one parent who attended the meeting. "All she was saying was, wait, we have two more months of school. New reports just came out."

All three brands available in the U.S. have been given emergency authorization by the FDA.

Those in support of the school’s actions spoke freely on camera to journalists, while those against it spoke under condition of anonymity — out of fear of retribution.

NBC 6 tried contacting the school’s publicist to confirm the policy clarification but have not yet heard back.

In a notice sent to parents before the meeting, Centner also apologized for what she called a "difficult situation."

"I am so sorry. It was never my intention to make anyone uncomfortable or to hurt anyone’s feelings," she wrote.

Centner Academy is turning vaccination science on its head, taking misinformation from the fringes of the internet and turning it into policy, affecting hundreds of children and adults. NBC 6's Tony Pipitone reports

In a statement from Monday, Centner stood by the biologically impossible claim that unvaccinated women have experienced miscarriages and other reproductive problems just by standing in proximity to vaccinated people.

“These vaccines are not live COVID virus,” Dr. Andrea L. Cox, professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told The Associated Press in a call. “They can’t infect the people who receive them and they can’t be spread.”

Cox also added that vaccines have not caused miscarriages in the people who got them during pregnancy.

The Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and leading women’s health authorities have declared the COVID-19 vaccines being used in the U.S. to be safe and effective, and they are undergoing unprecedented scrutiny for safety. Around the country, teachers were prioritized for early access to the vaccines to protect them from exposure to the coronavirus as schools reopened.

NBC 6 and AP
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