Sen. Bernie Sanders said students should not be forced to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“It’s not my job to tell parents or kids to get vaccinated,” the Vermont progressive told WCAX3 on Wednesday while touring a school in his home state.
“What we want to do is make sure that it is safe and the evidence seems to suggest that it would be safe.”
Sanders, who met with students at a school in Rutland, wouldn’t say if he was in favor of offering incentives to encourage teens to get vaccinated, the TV station reported.
The progressive icon’s comments come as the Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds as soon as next week.
Right now, anyone 16 or older is eligible for the vaccine in the US.
Many colleges and universities have announced they’ll require students to show proof of being vaccinated to return for the fall semester, but there’s been some debate about using supplies of the vaccine on younger teenagers who are considered low risk to get seriously ill from the virus while the coronavirus rages in other parts of the world.
The Biden administration announced Wednesday it supported waiving intellectual property protections for vaccine production with the goal of making them easier to manufacture in countries that are seeing high levels of infection and death.
Sanders backed that move in a tweet on Thursday.
“The goal of vaccines is to save lives and crush the pandemic, not increase drug company profits,” a tweet from the senator’s account said. “I applaud the President for backing the waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID vaccines. It’s nice to see the USA lead the world on a global justice issue.”