CBS4's Jim DeFede spoke with Dr. Marty after news broke the school emailed staff and teachers not to get the COVID vaccine.
- Developing right off the top at 6:00, a local private school stirring up COVID controversy tonight. Good evening, I'm Eliot Rodriguez.
- And I'm Lauren Pastrana. The owners of the Cetner Academy are instructing their teachers not to get vaccinated. We should disclose that we featured the Cetner Academy in a Miami Proud segment last October.
- CBS 4's Jim DeFede here, and Jim, teacher jobs could be on the line, here, right?
JIM DEFEDE: Absolutely. They've made no bones about it. This is a fairly new private school. It first opened I think in 2019, expanded in 2020. It is owned by Leyla and David Cetner, two very wealthy individuals who are prominent in Republican politics having given to Republican Party. They are also serious anti-vaxxers to begin with. And when you read this letter that we obtained a copy of that goes-- that it was sent to all parents today. You understand some of the concerns that are now being raised and we talked about it as being a controversy. It's more like a danger that's coming up.
I want to read you part of this letter that was sent to parents today. "Until further notice we ask any employee who has not yet taken the experimental COVID-19 injection to wait until the end of the school year. We also recommend that all staff and faculty hold off on taking the injection until there is further research available on whether this experimental drug is impacting unvaccinated individuals. It is our policy, to the extent possible, not to employ anyone who has taken the experimental COVID-19 injection until further information is known."
This letter goes on and cites a widely, widely debunked theory about how individuals who receive the vaccine could be spreading some mysterious disease that could affect women's menstrual cycles, and that as a result, they don't want teachers who are vaccinated to be anywhere near children. The New York Times reported late this afternoon that the teachers have been told that they must fill out a form identifying whether they've received the vaccine, which would raise certain legal issues for sure. And that that anyone who gets the vaccine over the summer may not have a job when they return.
So this is an issue that is going to be followed for a long time, but I want to let's just debunk the science of this. There is no science backing what this school is saying. They cite no studies, they cite no individuals, they provide no evidence, and this afternoon I had a chance to talk to Dr. Aileen Marty, a world renowned infectious disease specialist, and here's what she had to say after she reviewed this email.
AILEEN MARTY: A. It's egregious towards anyone who wants to protect themselves from this virus who would be employed by them. There are no scientific basis for any of the concerns that they raise, and there's no foundation whatsoever. It shows me that the author has a very primitive understanding of what a vaccine is, and really no understanding the scientific process.
JIM DEFEDE: This is a story that is going to have national implications for sure. I think you're going to see a lot more attention. We're certainly staying on the story. We'll have more at 7:00 and 11:00 tonight.