A petition opposing mandatory vaccinations for teachers and students in New South Wales has gathered the support of over 52,000 concerned parents and educators.
The online petition, addressed to NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell, along with NSW Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard was launched last week after the state government said all teaching staff in NSW must be injected with a COVID vaccine by November 8.
Georgina Harrison, Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, told the Daily Mail the move will mean teachers must essentially choose between unemployment and accepting the vaccination.
“It will mean under the public health order that [teachers] are lawfully unable to work for us, and we will have to look at measures such as leave without pay until someone could get vaccinated, or possibly terminating their employment because it will be a requirement of employment,” Harrison said.
“This is a really significant and serious step, it has not been taken lightly. Know that it has been taken on the very best health advice about what will protect our whole school community the best as we plan for return.”
NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham questioned the move, saying it could result in up to 10,000 teachers losing their jobs in a matter of months.
In a post on Twitter, Latham said: “NSW Department of Education employs 100,000 people. Staff survey shows 10% do not plan to be vaccinated. Under yesterday’s mandatory vaccination announcement up to 10,000 are to be sacked by November. How can this be the policy when COVD is not a high-risk illness for children?”
A school teacher, now faced with unemployment in the coming months, told Caldron Pool: “It is deeply disappointing that individuals in authority are making decisions for other people’s health without even knowing medical history or having informed consent from individuals.”
Another teacher said: “The value and worth of teachers has now been limited to whether they adhere to a forced medical procedure. School leaders who promote such a violation of conscience on their staff need to be held accountable.”
The petition, No Mandatory Vaccinations for Teachers & Students, can be signed here.