Emails between officials at the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services talked about the National Education Association's demand for vaccine and testing mandates for public school teachers and staff. The emails also mused about applying the mandate to students as well.
Max Nelson is director of research and government affairs with Freedom Foundation, which is attempting to hold teachers' unions accountable for the role they played in school closures during the pandemic. He argues that the plan to administer the jab to all public-school students would have made a disastrous pandemic for children even worse.
"The prospect of extending that requirement to students would have generated, I think, even more pushback and controversy," he says, adding that "had such a requirement been adopted, [it] would have prolonged the school closures."
The emails, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, had sensitive information redacted by the Department of Health and Human Services. Nelson says the part about student mandates somehow got past the censors.
"The documents that we were provided by the CDC indicate that the agency attempted but failed to redact that e-mail," he explains.
Nelson says the government is required to explain all redactions. "The CDC actually provided a citation for that redaction that they failed to follow through with successfully," he reports. "And they claim that the comment would have been, or should have been, redacted due to [what it calls] a 'deliberative process exemption.'"
According to Nelson, that exemption allows administrators to freely float ideas and discuss options. But if that were the case with the student mandates, he contends it shows the idea was given serious consideration.
"Probably the more likely explanation is that the CDC staff simply wanted to avoid the embarrassment that might result from this comment being released to the public," he tells AFN.
The unsuccessfully redacted comment, written by Debra Lubar, stated: "Wish they'd say it for students!" Lubar is director of the CDC's Office of Policy, Performance and Evaluation.