Vaccine Mandates are Essential


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.

Written by Lillian Tate, Reporter

 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.