The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri

Head to Head – Vaccine Mandates

September 30, 2021

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Vaccine Mandates are Tyrannical

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Photo by Sarah Sedgwick

A person should have the right to choose whether or not they would like to get vaccinated, and vaccine mandates are wrong.

  With COVID-19 still making its rounds throughout the world, mask and vaccine mandates, social distancing and reduced indoor capacities are continuing to be enforced regionally. 

  Recently, President Joe Biden announced vaccine mandates for all federal workers and for employees of private businesses with more than 100 workers. For the private businesses, a $14,000 fine will be posted for each violation, or in other words, per unvaccinated person. As of Sept. 15, 27 states have declared that they will be fighting this mandate in court, including the state of Missouri. Governor Parson has issued a statement saying that he believes this mandate is unconstitutional. 

  Several Ivy League schools have required students to be vaccinated, including Princeton and Yale. Many of those schools are facing lawsuits by students who were denied entrance because of their vaccination status. Whether students get vaccinated or not should be the choice of the students.

  Currently, Johnson County has not reinstated a mask mandate and county officials have not said anything about requiring vaccines. UCM’s policy requires students, faculty and staff to wear masks inside buildings but so far has not required vaccination. This news has come as a great relief to me, as someone who believes in individual freedom of choice.

     While vaccines are scientifically proven to be effective and are known to be helpful, each individual should have the choice to get one. For example, the annual flu shot is said to be helpful in fighting against the yearly change in the flu strain. Some people, and especially those who are immunocompromised, have found comfort and protection from these vaccinations, however, the flu vaccine has never been mandated to enter hospitals, schools, restaurants or to board flights. 

  Moreover, the COVID-19 vaccines are still under trial and only one, Pfizer, has been FDA approved as of Sept. 15. There have been numerous reports of unfortunate results from the vaccine, including allergic reactions, paralysis and death. Considering this, a vaccine without proper testing length and that has been reported to compromise the health of people should especially not be mandated. 

  The leading cause of death in the country continues to be cancer, heart disease and abortion, with statistics that outweigh the deaths from COVID-19. The vast majority of individuals who have died because of COVID-19 also had pre-existing conditions that were worsened by the virus, including diabetes and obesity. Of course, death is always sad and these individuals should be respected and their lives remembered, but at what point is it alright to use them as an example to take away everyone’s freedom to choose?

  The United States of America was founded on the principles of individual freedom. This country is supposed to be a safe haven for people who value the freedom to choose, but with vaccine mandates, where is that freedom? This is not about being selfish, this is about letting the government control people. If you want to ‘protect’ others by getting vaccinated and wearing a mask, you have the right to do so. Please exercise your rights as you see fit. That is the beauty of this country. But please, don’t tell me or anyone else what to do with our bodies.   

  Benjamin Franklin, a founding father of the United States, said, “Any society that will give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” Let those words serve as a reminder as you decide whether or not to relinquish your rights. Do not let this country become the tyranny we fought so bravely against over 200 years ago.

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Vaccine Mandates are Essential

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Photo by Sarah Sedgwick

It shouldn’t be a choice to get the COVID-19 vaccine because the more people who get vaccinated, the safer society will be. Vaccine mandates are needed to keep people safe.

 COVID-19 is still incredibly prevalent, with an average of 24 new cases daily in Johnson County according to the Mayo Clinic. Safety regulations regarding masks, social distancing and capacity limitations are all still common, but there has yet to be a vaccine mandate. 

  As of September 2021, there is no reinstatement for mask mandates or vaccine requirements in Johnson County, and the University of Central Missouri only requires masks inside university buildings. It is dangerous to leave the subject of public safety up in the air.

   As a biological chemistry major, I understand how vaccines are studied, and they’re an incredibly important step in creating a safer, more healthy community. They are the cheapest, fastest and most readily available solution to students and staff for COVID-19 prevention. Not everyone has access to decent masks, a supply of hand sanitizer or disinfectants for their room, but everyone can go to a clinic for the free shot. Eating pasta for dinner is a choice, deciding to work out in the morning is a choice, cutting your hair is a choice, but getting the COVID-19 shot should be an obligation and responsibility to society. If it takes college admittance or job denials to stress the importance of getting vaccinated, then so be it. 

  Institutions are not requiring vaccines to inconvenience anyone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infectious diseases tend to spread wherever large groups of people gather. Herd immunity is incredibly important, especially in a college town where students come from different backgrounds. At the University of Central Missouri, everyone living in dorms are required to have their meningitis vaccine, as required by state law. This is for the sake of everyone else in the dorms, so that no disease could be widespread. Vaccines need to be mandated for the sake of others. 

  For those individuals arguing that the choice to get vaccinated is their constitutional right, in 1905, the Supreme Court decided, “in every well-ordered society charged with the duty of conserving the safety of its members the rights of the individual in respect of his[/her] liberty may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint.” They also determined that mandatory vaccinations were not oppressive if they did not exceed what is “reasonably required for the safety of the public.”

  Thousands of Americans have died during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the CDC, there have been 660,380 deaths attributed to COVID-19. There are new cases every day. Hospitals are at capacity. People are still dying. Mandating a vaccine is beyond reasonable, it’s the only option.

  There are side effects with COVID-19 vaccines, but that can happen with any vaccine, even those that are more trusted, like meningitis. Of course the COVID-19 vaccine is still under trial and is still being updated, it’s brand new. COVID-19 is also a virus that can change and spread variants, therefore perfecting one vaccine is challenging and takes time. It is not the only vaccine to have caused an allergic reaction, paralysis or death. There are approximately 50-60 allergic reactions annually with the meningitis vaccine, resulting in around five to ten deaths a year. The meningitis vaccine is still required on campus.  

  Recent CDC research shows those who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are 29 times more likely to end up in the hospital, and many intensive care units are at full capacity. Not getting vaccinated and having to occupy space in the hospitals is also causing serious side effects. People with other health issues or who are in accidents may not be able to access the care they need in an emergency situation, and lives have been lost because of that.

  You have the freedom to choose, but I have the right to live. Get vaccinated.

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