Vaccination Updates

With vaccines in full swing, mandatory vaccines for colleges are in the near future

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Lizzy Fritzler

No masks? People shop at Nordstrom’s without a mask. Only in the month of March, it would have been abnormal to see an individual in public without wearing a mask. “It definitely feels weird to see people not wearing masks because it has become such a normal thing in society. It took me some time to get used to seeing people without masks on in public,” senior Kerrah Conner said.

The first COVID-19 vaccine was distributed on Dec. 14, 2020 to health care worker Sandra Lindsay. This shot “made her the first American to receive the coronavirus vaccine outside a clinical trial”. Now, five months later, in Washington state anyone over the age of 12 is eligible to be vaccinated.

With a plethora of vaccines being distributed, Washington state has administered over 4.6 million vaccines and is averaging 46,400 vaccines a day. Senior Hannah Grytness said that her “mom made me get the vaccine because she wanted me to be safe”. Many individuals have claimed to feel ill, tired, nauseous, and having sore muscles. With a 2-dose vaccine, the second dose has the tendency to have stronger and more intense side effects. Grytness said, “the first shot, I was fine, but the second shot was much worse. I had a fever and didn’t get a lot of sleep, but after I took ibuprofen I eventually was fine.”

With this many vaccines being distributed per day, many colleges across the nation are requiring immunizations for students planning to live on campus during the 2021-2022 school year. Senior Kerrah Conner claimed that “requiring vaccinations might make the students feel safer living on campus.”

Mandatory Covid-19 vaccines for college students seem to be slightly unreasonable because some students may have religious or medical reasons that make them exempt from getting vaccinated. However, colleges are taking as many precautions available to keep students and staff on campus healthy and safe. Grytness said she felt safer knowing that she has been vaccinated.

Some colleges are offering incentives such as gift cards and T-shirts to encourage more students to get vaccinated. One college, Rowan University in New Jersey will require all students to be vaccinated and is also providing a small credit toward tuition and housing.

Many colleges compare measles and mumps to COVID-19, which is why they don’t see the issue of having students vaccinated prior to living on campus.

One of the main reasons why colleges are pushing mandatory vaccinations is because they want to return to a sense of normalcy and safety. Colleges want students to be able to gather together, to socialize without keeping a 6 foot distance from each other, and lastly, colleges want to discard all mask policies.

Conner hopes “that things can go back to normal. Having schools, restaurants, movie theaters all open again”.

Regarding the issue of wearing masks, on May 13, President Joe Biden claimed that individuals don’t need to wear a mask if they are fully vaccinated. There are a few problems that may arise with this “rule” that Biden enacted. Most likely, there will be individuals out there that will claim that they are vaccinated but in reality, they aren’t. They want to be able to go out in public without wearing a mask. And when inquired if they are vaccinated, they could either lie about it, or tell the person asking that it’s none of their business due to the fact that it is personal information.

Conner voiced her concerns that “people will fake being vaccinated” so they are able to go out in public without wearing a mask.

There is the potential that one may claim that asking another person if they are vaccinated violates HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). However, HIPAA only protects people from medical or clinical providers from releasing personal health information. The guidelines regarding HIPAA can appear to have loopholes that people can maneuver through in order to justify them and their actions.

Will there be mandatory vaccinations? No one knows yet. There are still so many questions about what’s to happen next.