Should the COVID-19 vaccine be mandatory?

A survey of 45 students from Dec. 21 to Jan. 4


A survey of 45 students from Dec. 21 to Jan. 4

Ryan Lemberger

Scientists and doctors can not force people to take vaccines. However, with the COVID-19 vaccine being approved for emergency use by the FDA in less than 11 months, the public has concerns over long term effects and being forced to take it by the government.

As coronavirus cases continue to surge despite the vaccine rollout, people are wondering if they can be mandated to take the vaccine. Federally, there is no constitutional power that can force citizens to take a vaccine. States and corporations, however, can impose laws that require citizens to have a vaccine in order to enter a business or establishment. 

In August, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Americans at a town hall meeting hosted by Healthline that he does not think there will be a vaccine mandate in the United States, but it will be highly encouraged. 

 “If someone refuses the vaccine in the general public, then there’s nothing you can do about that. You cannot force someone to take a vaccine,” Dr. Fauci said.

The CDC doesn’t know how many vaccines will be needed to create herd immunity, but other sources including Vox Media estimate that 70-80% of the world will need to take the vaccine in order to end the pandemic. 

While it is still unclear how many doses will be administered before the end of January, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services said that the goal of Operation Warp Speed,the government vaccine rollout program, is to have 300 million doses of a “safe and effective vaccine.” This goal has since been proven unrealistic because of unexpected problems with the rollout. 

A likely mandate in many states would require students to take the vaccine to attend school. Currently, the biggest problem with getting children vaccinated is that clinical trials have not been completed for those under the age of 16.

Since each person needs two doses of either already approved vaccine, according to Forbes, it is unlikely that it will be available before mid-March, or even April for the general public. This will lead to any questionable vaccine mandate likely being pushed off until fall 2021.

Sophomore Lucy Battista of Tinton Falls is excited to take the vaccine when her turn comes.

“It is so stupid for people to talk about their risks with the vaccine because there is risks with everything,” Battista said, given there is scientific evidence to back up the vaccine’s safety.

She also said that she did not think the vaccine was politically influenced despite the controversy with some of President Donald Trump’s tweets and comments.

“I think people try to say that to justify them not getting it, but at the end of the day this is not a political thing,” Battista said. “It is about health and safety. Scientists and researchers would not push for this vaccine and get it as soon as possible if they didn’t think it was the right thing to do.”

Overall, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the newly approved COVID-19 Vaccine. While the government can not require its citizens to be vaccinated, they highly recommend it. Ultimately, citizens should be free to make their own choices despite any influence from the government.