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Is It Time to Require People to Get Vaccinated for COVID-19?

Opinion

Photo via reuters.com

Letter to the Editor

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Can you imagine what the highways would resemble if there were no requirement for driving? Having traffic lights, stop signs, and other signals enables people to drive safely on the roads. These requirements prevent accidents and save lives.

While most people don’t want to be told to do anything or deprived of their First Amendment Rights, the critical questions to be asked are: Is it time to require people to get vaccinated for COVID-19? What should be the role of employers and schools regarding vaccinations?

After a successful downturn in the number of cases of the coronavirus in the US and abroad, the potentially more severe and infectious Delta variant has reared its head and the numbers of those infected is beginning to climb. Of those who are being admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms, 97% of the people are unvaccinated and 99.5% of all coronavirus deaths are among the unvaccinated.

With the advancement of the vaccine in 2021, many schools are reluctant to require students to get vaccinated. They are even reluctant to meet the 85% vaccinated threshold of football conferences such as Big 12 for teams to participate in sports without having to be tested regularly or wear masks inside school facilities. This trend is also noticeable in other organizations such as the National Football League (NFL). Hall of Famer Michael Irving recently blasted the Dallas Cowboys for the reluctance of players not getting the vaccine and the team’s vaccination rate is less than the 85% vaccinated threshold of the NFL. Irving said, “If you are unvaccinated that means you don’t want to win badly enough. Dude, what are you thinking?” noted Irving.

According to the NFL safety protocols, unvaccinated players will be restricted from daily meetings and practices of teammates who are vaccinated. They will be tested daily, required to wear a mask, unable to leave the team hotel, employ social distancing from players inside the facility, barred from eating with teammates, and have limitations to using the weight room. Coronavirus outbreaks among unvaccinated players can possibly lead to teams forfeiting games, noted the NFL.

Given the state of the economy, it is essential that schools and employers set the tone for their organizations and communities to follow.  If we are going to contain the virus, everyone will need to take an active role in combating the disease. To jump-start this gigantic milestone, schools and employers should require that all of their stakeholders are trained on COVID-19, vaccinated, or enforce the 85% vaccinated threshold to protect themselves and others from the virus. They should also incorporate an incentive for their constituents to take the vaccine.

In 2020, The Holmes Education Post (THEP) published a book titled “A Children’s Guide to Understanding the Coronavirus (COVID-19).” The book teaches children about the coronavirus and 10 ways to protect themselves and other people from the disease. Along with the book, THEP created a 30-minute online program for elementary, middle, and high school principals and college presidents to collectively educate their students on COVID-19. THEP recommended that schools use the program as a part of their “Student Code of Conduct” and as a tool for students’ re-entry into the school environment.

Many people are reluctant to take the vaccine due to conspiracy theories, religious beliefs, personal health conditions, and misplaced guidance from unreliable sources. In this era, people are easily influenced to steer away from facts. Recently, NFL six-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady jokingly stated at the White House that some people don’t even believe that the Buccaneers won the 2021 Super Bowl even though reliable sources confirm its victory.

Contrary to popular beliefs, the vaccine is the best tool available to fight against the virus based on scientific evidence. In my view, the vaccine is a better solution than being barred from public places and events. If we are to combat this virus, all of us will have to take an active role in getting vaccinated, responsibly wearing masks, and employing hand-washing and sanitizing measures.  These are the rules we need to play by in order to keep everyone safe and get our country and the world back to pre-COVID-19 conditions.

For confidence, people should consult with their healthcare providers to help dispel any miscommunication or interpretation about the vaccine and its possible impact on their bodies.

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