Schools Ought to Mandate Vaccinations

Sam Abella ’24 is arguing that the vaccine should be mandated.

Graphic by (Emmi Wu ’23)

COVID-19 originated in early 2020 and dramatically transformed the world as we knew it. As we reach the tail end of this pandemic, it seems that we are finally nearing the light at the end of the tunnel. However, limited awareness and safety surrounding COVID-19 still continue to be major concerns. With the sudden emergence of the Delta variant, the risks have escalated even further. Fortunately, safe and approved vaccines are currently available to the public, ages twelve and up. In support of this, a government led website affirms that “studies so far show that vaccinated people are 8 times less likely to be infected and 25 times less likely to experience hospitalization or death”. This direct quote shows the true disparity in health and safety between those who are vaccinated and not, and proves the substantial benefit in simply going out and getting the shots. 

In accordance with these statistics, for schools to ensure safety they need to require vaccinations in order for students to attend school in-person. The benefits of the vaccine are so significant that it would be entirely selfish and downright ignorant for them to be overlooked. The supporting statistics of  COVID-19 infection rates when comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated people are inherently obvious as well. The shots have been affirmed to be safe, as they were fully approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Originally, the vaccines were issued under an emergency use authorization (EUA), which legitimatizes concern, however, after approval there should be no second thoughts about its safety.

The major issue we face as a community is that people want to live their lives the way they used to. Many students have unpreventable tendencies to spend time with large groups of people, often unmasked, which is a threat to others. Mass groupings such as these, largely improve the chances of widespread infection and transmission among numerous individuals. A longtime history teacher at Lower Merion High School, John Grace, had some things to say on the matter. When asked about his current standpoint on the management of COVID-19, he said, “I would like to teach students to the best of my ability, and in order to do so we should follow safety protocols as recommended by public health specialists.” The well-being of those who could be heavily impacted by contracting the virus within our community should not be overlooked, and by mandating vaccinations within schools many lives can be saved. 

Free speech and free will are what make America the great nation that it is. However, interpreting this by choosing whether or not to receive the vaccine is beyond foolish. Each vaccinated person reduces the risk of the next person getting it, causing a domino effect in which people are awarded protection. If society consists of people continuously refusing the vaccine, COVID-19 may continue to be a rampant concern. In order to prevent this, a system must be implemented providing an incentive to get the shots. If schools required these vaccinations in order to learn in person, it may save lives and put the world back on track to recovery.