High school students should have a vaccine mandate



Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

High school students in New York City should face a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in order to attend school, clubs, extracurricular events, prom and graduation.

At ages 14 through 18, with the youngest high school students being 13-years-old, high schoolers are old enough to be responsible for getting the vaccine and, later, the booster shot, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

They’re young, yes, but they’re not kids anymore. They’re not children. The oldest high schoolers are legal adults. Depending on the state and the crime, teenagers are sometimes even legally charged as adults.

Around the time that high school starts, teens tend to start to rebel against their parents, stay out later and start coming into themselves more. It’s a time of transition, change and learning.

It’s also a time of maturing, meaning taking responsibility for one’s actions, choices and body.

High school students don’t need their parents’ permission to get vaccinated. If they choose not to get the vaccine and they contract the virus, then that’s their fault, and their parents’ fault for not pushing them to get the shot.

If they then pass the virus on to somebody else, especially someone high-risk, immunocompromised, elderly or an infant, then that’s the teenager’s fault, alongside their parents’, to some extent.

They had the ability to prevent that from happening, or to at least make it less likely. They chose not to do it.

Currently, New York City has a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all K-12 students who participate in high risk extracurriculars, like sports. There’s also a vaccine mandate for high school students to go to prom this year.

These mandates are great ways to get the most active high school students vaccinated, but they don’t go quite far enough.

Plenty of students aren’t involved in afterschool activities. That leaves out tons of students who aren’t required to get vaccinated but who have the potential to catch and transmit the virus to others.

It’s understandable that some families feel cautious or unsure of the vaccines because they were made relatively quickly or because the general public doesn’t have an understanding of how the shots were made and what’s in them. However, that wariness leads to COVID-19 spreading more and more.

The spread of the virus should be of more concern than a vaccine that millions of people have received and not experienced serious side effects from.

High school students are the next up to enter the adult world. If their slightly older college student counterparts are old enough to be mandated to get the vaccine, so are they.