Anderson Co. schools paying teachers to get vaccinated, but one board member incorrectly calls vaccines ‘experimental drugs’

Anderson County (Wikipedia map)

Editor’s note: None of the three vaccines approved for use in the U.S. are experimental. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been permanently licensed, and the Moderna vaccine has applied for a license. It and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are approved by federal agencies for use in the pandemic emergency. Worldwide, 3.7 billion people have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine and nearly 2.8 billion are fully vaccinated.

By Christian Marnon
The Anderson News

Anderson County Public Schools employees who are fully vaccinated or become vaccinated for the coronavirus by Dec. 1 are now eligible for a one-time $100 payment.

In a 4-1 vote, the Anderson County School Board approved that option during a special-called meeting last Wednesday evening.

Supt. Sheila Mitchell said after the meeting that booster shots are presently “not included in the structure,” adding that funds for the incentive will be reimbursed by the state Department of Education and federal coronavirus relief funds.

During discussion of the motion among the school board, member Peggy Peach said she could not endorse “experimental drugs.”

“When people are paid to try experimental drugs, it’s called a drug study,” she said. “In the case of these vaccines, there’s no one taking responsibility for the side effects or long-term effects down the road. I vote no to this.”

Peach also cautioned about liability. “If you pay someone to do this, you’re going to be responsible,” she said.

Board member Rose Morgan parried that the incentive should be doubled. “I think we should add another $100,” she said.

Board member Scott Brown said he partially aligned with Peach’s argument, but nevertheless said the option should be available for those who want it. “I don’t think it would be a big impact on our district,” he said.

Board Chairman James Sargent approved the motion and endorsed vaccination: “I think we ought to encourage vaccination, that’s my thought.”

Anderson County has a relatively high vaccination rate; 62% of its people have received at least one dose of vaccine, just above the statewide percentage, and 56% are fully vaccinated.
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