A Local Perspective

A reflection on student and staff views of the COVID-19 Vaccination

Lucy Allen, Graphic Design Editor

In most of our lifetimes there has never been an issue as decisive as vaccine mandates and both sides have very strong opinions. Those who believe in the vaccines, including current President Joe Biden, have been pushing heavily for mandates. The definition of a mandate is “an official order or commission to do something.” At this point all federal workers must show proof of vaccination or they will lose their jobs. Other sectors heavily affected by these mandates include healthcare workers and police departments, but at this point there have been no official federal vaccine mandates for these workers. Policies differ greatly from state to state often falling one way or the other based on where their political party lies. 

We’ve all heard stories of people leaving their jobs and leaving their homes to travel across states just to avoid getting the vaccine. This heated debate on the vaccine mandate is spreading quickly across the country and our town is no different. Health occupation teacher, Elizabeth Smith, says that she thinks the COVID vaccine should be mandatory for healthcare workers, but personal choice for the general public, “healthcare workers should get it, because our first priority needs to be to our patients.” Junior, Ethan Trumbull agrees with Smith, “Specifically with COVID I think it should be mostly left up to choice, but if you’re going to be exposed to the public a lot for your job or something it should probably be mandatory.” The mandate has been met with some resistance in certain states.

Junior, Julia Ketchum says she thinks the mandates are taking away human rights, “Yes, I still feel like putting a mandate on something like that and forcing something in your body is very un-American I guess.” Smith shares her views on this idea, “ I still work at the hospital and I just took care of a patient the other day who had COVID. He had a medical problem not covid related that he had to have a procedure for and a healthcare worker, whose human rights were intact gave him covid and now he’s maybe going to die from it. So what about that?” 

Another huge issue right now is the lack of hospital beds. Smith saw this first hand, “I had another patient who was having a heart attack and got sent home because there were no beds anywhere. There was nothing we could do for them and that’s to me more of a human rights issue.” Lots of people are also questioning if the COVID vaccine is effective or not. Ketchum says, “it’s technically not even a vaccine. It’s just antibodies and stuff so I feel like if we can’t even get the name of it right then why should we put it in our body.” 

Some people have strong opinions one way or the other but others like Trumbull see both sides of the issue, “I think most of it has to do with empathy right? You wanna take the vaccine so you don’t hurt someone else who can actually get hurt from COVID. You know that everyone’s excuse is oh it’s just a cold. It’s not just a cold for the guy laying in the hospital bed.” In a country that prides itself on freedom this issue is not an easy one. Our country is being tested like never before and the definition of freedom is clearly different for everyone.