OPINION: COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate: A Long-Awaited Necessity

Kent State students posing proudly with their vaccine cards after receiving doses of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Kent State students posing proudly with their vaccine cards after receiving doses of the COVID-19 vaccination.

On August 27, President Todd Diacon announced that, effective December 20, 2021, all students and faculty will be required to submit proof of their vaccination for COVID-19. Prior to this date, testing of unvaccinated students living in residence halls will increase to two times a week. This came after the approval of the Pfizer vaccine, acknowledging its effectiveness, as well as its pertinence.

While some argue that this is unnecessary, or an “infringement on their rights,” I am left thinking “finally.” This outcome is long overdue, and I look forward to the day I know everyone has done their part in the protection of others. As someone who lives in a residence hall, eats at various locations on campus, and spends hours in class every day, I will feel safer in these spaces knowing that everyone is working to end this prolonged pandemic. 

This truly is about more than just wanting or not wanting to get vaccinated. While it is your choice, it then becomes your choice to protect or endanger those around you. I cannot think of a plausible reason for not getting the vaccine, barring one thing: selfishness. Think about the children who aren’t yet eligible, or the grandparents who are at an increased risk, or the immunocompromised, who, even with a vaccine, may not get the protection they require to keep themselves healthy.

While I wish it had come sooner, I’m thankful it’s here now. With the vaccine mandate, we can be sure that we are doing everything we can to decrease the rates of contraction and death as results of the coronavirus. On a college campus, we come in contact with hundreds of people daily. While there are already measures in place to slow the spreading of the virus, such as social distancing and wearing masks, this is not the long term goal, and is ignored by as many people as I have seen follow it.

The acquisition of a fully vaccinated campus will provide the opportunity for an understanding of a compassionate school community and a new normal. After all, if flashes really do take care of flashes, we will do everything we can to ensure their sustained health and safety.

Claire Laux is an opinion writer. Contact her at [email protected]