Do your part and get vaccinated

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Arne Müseler | Wikimedia Commons

Marziya Hasan

As COVID-19 vaccine availability increases in the United States, colleges and universities must decide if they will mandate vaccinations. Making vaccines a requirement for attending in-person classes can help build a safe and comfortable environment for both students and staff.

Many Baruch College students have shown concerns about returning to in-person classes in the fall, mainly due to mental health struggles or experiencing loss due to COVID-19. Requiring vaccinations on campus can help lessen some of that burden.

Potentially catching COVID-19 and spreading it to a family member or close friend has been a significant concern for many people. According to The New York Times’ college campus COVID-19 tracker, outbreaks have increased on college campuses since last year.

Without getting everyone vaccinated, the number of cases will only increase.

Those that refuse to receive the vaccine believe the process of creating and pushing out these vaccines happened too quickly. This creates concerns about its accuracy in fighting the virus.

There are indeed many questions still unanswered about the vaccines, however, vaccinating as many people now can help prevent more variants of the virus.

“The goal of a vaccination campaign now is to reduce the spread of the virus, which reduces the replication of the virus, which will reduce the chance that there will be more variants,” Joshua Sharfstein, the associate dean for public health practice and training and a professor of the practice in health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said.

Another very prominent concern for students are the possible side effects the vaccine could cause.

According to a COVID-19 Symptom Survey conducted by the Delphi Group at Carnegie Mellon University, 70% of adults surveyed have expressed concerns about side effects from the vaccine.

Not only have many experienced little to no side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines, but severe reactions are also extremely rare. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains on their website that the millions of people who have already taken the vaccine can prove that they are both safe and effective.

There is also the legality of this situation to take into account. Although some colleges cannot require students to receive the vaccine for reasons such as availability constraints, they can offer alternatives until it is safe to fully reopen.

This includes offering online classes to those that cannot or will not get vaccinated. Students can also be given a time limit before the start of the semester to get the vaccine in case there’s a concern over availability.

Online classes should be offered to international students as well because they have less control over the vaccination procedures available to them.