Should Students be Required to Get a Vaccine?

Elie Yates, Editor

Multiple Covid-19 vaccines have been available to the general public over the age of 16 since March, but what about those under the age of 16? Companies like Pfizer and Moderna are currently in the testing phase of their vaccine for people ages 12-17, which is mostly students. Vaccinating students can have so many benefits for them, therefore schools should require a vaccination. 

One vital reason for students to be vaccinated is so that they can protect themselves from Covid. All the available Covid-19 vaccinations in the US have been proven safe and effective against the virus, meaning students would be far less likely to contract the virus and be infected by it. For students with health problems, like asthma, type 2 diabetes, or compromised immune systems, it can lessen the severity of infection if one occurs and prevent them from being hospitalized. On average, Covid-19 vaccines are 95% effective in adults and expected to be 100% effective in teens. If all students got the vaccine, everyone would be safe from infection. 

Another reason students need to get the vaccine is to protect those around them such as their peers, families, neighbors, and others they care about. The Australian Health Department says once enough people are vaccinated, it creates herd immunity and slows down the spread very efficiently. Herd immunity doesn’t have to be created by everyone getting sick and developing natural antibodies, the vaccine can do just that without compromising anyone. By getting vaccinated, you are protecting those around you who you care about the most and those in your community by weakening the chance of getting them sick. 

Lastly, if the entire student body is vaccinated, school and life outside of school will be able to return to normal. While the process of reopening has already begun, the CDC announced on April 27th that those who are fully vaccinated did not have to wear masks while exercising, dining outdoors, and other outdoor activities. Students would also be able to receive this benefit once fully vaccinated. Out-of-school activities like sports, theater, and band could become instantly safer for students because they would likely participate in those activities with other vaccinated students. Restaurants, shops, and movie theaters would also become more available and safe to students who want to visit them. Most importantly, it would allow students to return to school full time. Studies show that 70% of students and 73% of teachers would rather be learning in person, which would be easily achieved by vaccinating students. 

Vaccinations can benefit everyone, whether it’s protecting yourself, your community, or enjoying life as it once was. Schools should require vaccines in order to give every student the opportunity to experience these benefits.