VOICES: Students should have to get vaccine before being on-campus this fall

Category:  Opinions
Monday, May 3rd, 2021 at 10:28 AM
VOICES: Students should have to get vaccine before being on-campus this fall by Alexander Beatty
Photo: Pexels.com

Students (and staff) should be vaccinated in order to come to campus next fall. College is an escape for many people and it’s supposed to be a safe zone. This pandemic is beyond deadly, but the vaccine offers some relief. And by the time school returns (Aug. 23), everyone should’ve had enough time to get their vaccine shots.

Going further, Edinboro should require the vaccine for attendance (with rare exceptions). Their priority should be the health and safety of everyone on campus. Many other schools are making the vaccine a requirement, such as Duke University (North Carolina) and University of Notre Dame, while other colleges’ vaccine policies are still in development. Let’s look at Duke’s policy for some guidance:

“With this in mind, we plan to require all new and returning Duke students to present proof of vaccination to Student Health before they can enroll for the Fall 2021 semester.  This policy will cover all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students—in all degree programs—who intend to be on the Duke campus for any period of time starting with the Fall 2021 semester.  Documented medical and religious exemptions will be accommodated.”

At this point, there are three authorized vaccine options here in the U.S. — Pfizer, Moderna and the single shot Johnson & Johnson. The vaccines have proven to be relatively harmless to the majority of the population. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was paused due to rare but severe side effects, including blood clots (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome), according to the CDC. Though this severe condition was only found in six people, the vaccine was paused and has since resumed after review. Almost all instances of this side effect was in “adult women younger than 50 years old.” 

The CDC states the other two vaccines have more common vaccine side effects, like headaches, tiredness, nausea, fever, and chills (these are included with the Johnson and Johnson, as well). These are normal as your body is building protection against COVID-19 and should go away in a day or two.

Of course, there should be exceptions for vaccine requirements, such as religious beliefs and for medical reasons (those with autoimmune disorders). Those people shouldn’t be forced to receive the vaccine, but they should still wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash their hands often if attending in the fall. 

College students come from a wide variety of locations where the spread of the novel Coronavirus differs. These students are then placed in the same vicinity of each other, which is the perfect opportunity for the spread to increase once again. The vaccine allows safety and protection for all.

This isn’t even mentioning the close vicinity students are in when they’re in their dorms. Nobody knows what their roommate is truly doing, but personally, I’d feel more comfortable knowing that they have their vaccination. It would allow me to focus on my school work more.

Students have already lost a year of their college experience: their welcome weekend, meeting new friends, their senior year, and more. Spring break was also taken away, leading to a sort of burnout toward the end of semester. It would be much worse if someone also lost their life.

Especially with the new strands of COVID-19 appearing, students should consider the vaccine. Currently, there are five variants of concern — B.1.1.7 (this started in the UK), B.1.351 (started in South Africa), P.1 (started with travelers from Brazil), and B.1.427 and B.1.429 (both started in California; this is the most recent, February/March 2021). These variants can spread much easier, but antibodies from the vaccines (so far) have been able to recognize the variants. There still needs to be a lot more testing to know more.

Starting April 19, all adults 16 years or older have been eligible to receive the vaccine. 

Edinboro already requires the meningitis vaccine for housing, so it’s not out of the ordinary to require the COVID-19 vaccine to be on campus. It’s for protection. Students shouldn’t be focusing on their fear of becoming ill, but rather on their studies and forming their college life. They have families, as well, and going home for breaks would require a quarantine that takes time away. After getting the vaccine (and the proper waiting period, around two weeks), you don’t have to quarantine after travel. Life would be a little easier.

From personal experience, I received the vaccine and only felt poorly for the day after. Yes, my arm was sore but no more than when I got the flu shot. It goes away quickly and then you have this weight lifted off your chest. I felt so much better afterward and even better after the two weeks. It’s worth it.

You're not only protecting yourself but others around you. Think of others when deciding whether or not to get the vaccine. However, colleges like Edinboro should set a rule that makes all eligible students and staff get the vaccine.

We all want to enjoy the real college experience, and we all hopefully want to enjoy the life that builds around it. Consider setting up an appointment as soon as it becomes available to you. A lot of people are looking forward to attending the campus in the fall.

Alexander Beatty is a staff writer for The Spectator. He can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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