Should colleges be able to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory?

After adapting to changes over the past year from COVID-19, many colleges have announced it is mandatory for students and staff to return to campus fully vaccinated.

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After adapting to changes over the past year from COVID-19, many colleges have announced it is mandatory for students and staff to return to campus fully vaccinated.

Nearly 16 months into the pandemic, the new COVID-19 vaccine is becoming more popular. Starting in Dec. 2020, the vaccine has been distributed in America and countries all around the world in hopes of becoming a solution to the virus. Though science points in the direction of the vaccine being safe, should it become mandatory that college students get them?

Since colleges are at high-risk for spreading the virus, many universities have come out saying the students and staff must be vaccinated including Duke, Cornell, Syracuse and Brown. In an article by the Washington Post titled, “D.C.-area colleges should require vaccines before students return,” Liberal Arts Professor James R. Stocker states, “Many universities are now planning to return to nearly full levels of on-campus activity for the fall semester. This means millions of students will be migrating across the country to clustered locations, providing new opportunities for infections in classrooms, dorm rooms and social gatherings.” Mandating the vaccine would prevent the spread at these new opportunities.

Sports are another positive factor when addressing the effects the vaccine could have on college life. This year, many division colleges have suffered the consequences of having an outbreak occur on the team. Limitations to training, players having to quarantine and games being postponed are a large hurdle to overcome for schools striving to win championships. An article from National Collegiate Athletic Association, “Pandemic continues to impact student-athlete mental health” states, “Ninety-four percent of Division I respondents reported being tested, with 14 percent having tested positive for the virus at some point.” Provided that the majority of athletes have the vaccine, a light at the end of the tunnel may be appearing as quarantine policies become less and less strict.

Though the vaccination would be very beneficial to giving college students a relatively normal life again, health side-effects have come to light. Since the vaccination has been available there have been 16 cases of dangerous blood clots all linked back to one brand of the vaccine, Johnson and Johnson. Mostly effecting women, the cause of this is supposedly due to low platelet counts, cell fragments that clot and stop bleeding. “Researchers believe that this specific low-platelet count is similar to a reaction some individuals get when they receive a blood thinner, called heparin-induced thrombocytopenia,” states Beth Daley in an article titled, “What are the blood clots associated with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine” from theconversation.com.

Though the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has been administered to millions of people, even this small amount of cases can cause a large outburst of questions and make people more timid about getting it.

Taking all things into consideration, though it is a very low percentage, the potential risk of the vaccine causing health problems is a sufficient reason to have an option of not getting it as a college student. Although it can and will provide benefits to those who do get the vaccine, it should be up to individuals themselves whether it is something they would like to get.