Should there be a mandate requiring the COVID-19 vaccine?


Photo by Lisa Ferdinando

As the COVID-19 vaccine is now being distributed to the general public, there have been many questions raised regarding the safety of the vaccine, side effects, and who should consider taking the vaccine. It is normal for people to be skeptical of any type of injection into their body. However, the COVID-19 vaccine should not be held at that same level of skepticism. It has been tested and studied before any mass distribution occurred and now seems to be our only hope for our country to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. The vaccine being such a great option of recovery for our country leads me to the conclusion that a mandatory vaccine from the federal government is our last hope of recovering from COVID-19 as a whole.

The COVID-19 vaccine, like any other vaccine that is being prepared for mass distribution, must clear certain standards by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institutes for Health, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There are people who are not quite sure if the vaccine is safe to take due to the short amount of time of roughly a year that it took to begin distribution in comparison to a usual 5-10 years that it takes to develop a vaccine from scratch. However, in that short amount of time, the vaccine has been “tested successfully on tens of thousands of people through clinical trials,” said Dr. Richard Zane, executive director of emergency services for UCHealth. These vaccines that have been tested for clinical trials were tested on a wide variety of people varying in weight, race, and age. In terms of side effects, some people have reported no side-effects or “minor” side effects such as a soreness in the arm, body aches, or a low fever which are all general side effects of a regular flu shot. Overall, a citizen should not fear taking a COVID-19 vaccine as there has been clear evidence that should only encourage people to take the vaccine.

According to UCHealth, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines both have a 94-95% efficacy rate which puts the vaccine at the “highest category” among vaccines along with the measles vaccine. It is still possible for a very small percentage of people to contract the virus after receiving the vaccine. However, if anyone were to contract the virus after taking the vaccine, their body would be well equipped to fight it off due to the antibodies that have developed in his or her system. It is still “unknown” if it is possible to contract the virus and transmit it to others, after receiving vaccination, according to John Hopkins Medicine which is why people still must follow social distancing guidelines and continue to wear a mask in public even after getting vaccinated. However, continuing to social distance and wear a mask in public after taking the vaccine is only a precaution that wouldn’t have to be taken if the vaccine was mandatory. If people are required to take the vaccine in order to go to work, go to school, or even enter public spaces, it wouldn’t be a quick process due to the limited supply of vaccines at the moment, but the vaccine would have much more of a positive impact as social distancing guidelines would start to become more loose and wearing a mask would no longer be stressed in public spaces as more vaccines becomes readily available.

At the moment, anyone who is over 16 and eligible should highly consider taking the COVID-19 vaccine and comply with a mandate for the vaccine if it is issued. The only people that should not take the vaccine are those who currently take immunosuppressive drugs as people who were currently taking them were not involved in the clinical trials and children who do not meet the current age requirement. However, the age requirement could be lowered soon as children as young as 12 years old are now being included in clinical trials. On the other hand, for people who are at high risk of a fatal case if they were to contract COVID-19, it is highly encouraged that they comply with a mandatory vaccine being issued. This includes people with a weakened immune system or pre-existing medical conditions. For those who do not have pre-existing medical conditions, and are generally not worried about COVID-19, it would be wise to keep in mind that there are people you come in contact with every day who may be at risk including family members or even a stranger you come in contact with throughout your day. Approximately 400,000 people have died from COVID-19. Some have chosen not to acknowledge it, but even in Dearborn, citizens have lost friends, parents and other family members in the past 10 months. A mandatory vaccine would be a step in the right direction to slowly mitigate the risk of future losses.