The question has been floating around: will it be mandatory for all staff and students to be vaccinated before arriving on campus for the fall 2021 semester?
Staff and student workers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are now able to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. I appreciate the convenience of being offered a free vaccination on campus, and how swiftly it is being dispersed. However, I am a bit wary of the rapidly constructed vaccine.
The vaccine may be the cure-all, but we have no possible idea yet. As the fall semester rolls around, receiving the vaccine should be recommended to students and staff, but not required.
According to the CDC, universities, like states, are legally allowed to require its citizens or students to receive a certain vaccination in order to lessen or stop the spread of a disease. Certain vaccinations are required for students to attend school on campus, such as a hepatitis and tetanus shots. However, this is not an equivalent argument because these vaccinations have been proven to be safe and effective.
According to a Forbes article, if a person refuses a mandatory vaccination, they can literally be forced into the doctor’s office to get poked. If a state or nationwide mandate is not the case, I do not believe the university should force students to have the COVID-19 vaccine.
It is understandable that many people are especially wary of the COVID-19 vaccine. A vaccine that was developed in roughly one year offers room for a greater chance of mistake and negative side effects. There has not been enough time to determine if the COVID-19 vaccine is actually safe and effective in the long run. Many are afraid of the possible side effects that have still to be uncovered. There have been mentions of possible side effects such as infertility, which may not be likely, but still causes reasonable apprehension for some.
Additionally, myself and others I know experience bad reactions from vaccinations and remain sick for days after. Those who have negative reactions from any sort of vaccination have good reason for wanting to avoid a vaccine that could potentially not serve its purpose and cause more harm than good.
Another question arises of those who have already had COVID-19. If a person still has active antibodies, there would be no point for them to receive the vaccine. How long the antibodies remain varies from person-to-person, but it has been shown to be roughly ninety days. A person with active antibodies is not able to attain the virus, unless it is a different strand. The vaccine only protects against the most prevalent strand, making the whole situation a bit more complicated.
Hopefully by the fall semester, a great decline in COVID cases will be seen. If this is the case, mask policies should lighten. It will be difficult to determine who has received the vaccine and who hasn’t, so mask policies should not differ from person to person. A good rule of thumb would be if students are sitting six feet apart in a classroom or walking from their dorm to the bathroom, masks should not have to be constantly worn.
It is understandable that a newly created, underdeveloped vaccine causes hesitation for many people. The university should not require staff, student workers and students to receive the vaccine in the fall of 2021. COVID-19 is a deadly, serious disease, but we should have the right to choose if we want to receive a vaccine that could have unpredictable side effects.
Emerson McClure is a freshman Journalism and Advertising and Public Relations major. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.