Is the Covid-19 Vaccine going to be mandatory for students?

And an insight into which factors will determine a state mandate

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Ava Kavanagh, A & E Editor

As the new year approaches, more concern regarding the expected 2021 release of a Covid-19 has spread rampantly throughout the population. And one particular question keeps racking parents’ minds: Is the Covid-19 Vaccine going to be mandatory for students?

Many parents are skeptical of the vaccination’s safety/effectiveness due to the sped-up approval and its possible threat to safety precautions. Despite concerns, the vaccine is required the same safety procedure all other vaccines undergo. The difference is the Covid-19 vaccine was pushed to the forefront of vaccination approval. The time that was saved in developing a vaccination was the administrative component. All safety precautions were met, if not surpassed. The most promising vaccine was developed by Pfizer and Moderna, which yielded a 95% efficacy in clinical trials. That surpasses the FDA requirement of 50% almost two-fold.

The vaccine’s purpose is to protect the individual child and increase herd immunity as a means of decreasing the spread. Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of the population becomes immune to the disease. Therefore a large portion of the population needs to be vaccinated voluntarily or inevitably a mandate will be required. According to a survey released by Gallup News in November, 58% of Americans say they will get a Covid-19 vaccine. Is 58% of the population enough to stop the spread of Covid-19? What percentage of the population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity? Experts do not know this percentage, as it varies from disease to disease. For reference measles, a highly contagious disease requires 94% of the population to be immune to prevent spread. The goal of government officials is to encourage as many people as possible to immunize.

Who passes a mandate of Covid-19?

The mandate of a vaccine cannot occur at a federal level due to constitutional protection. However, the federal government can place certain incentives to encourage vaccination. Such as requiring proof of vaccination for ordering a driver’s license and/or a passport.

State governments mandate required vaccines in schools and decide medical, religious, and political exemptions. The vaccination must be recorded by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for this to occur. The mandate must also be discussed by state legislators and city councils.

Experts predict a Covid-19 mandate for schools is unlikely at the beginning of a vaccination release. The skepticism of safety and access to vaccination are both barriers to an immediate mandate. Also, state governments must consider whether the benefits of a school mandate is worth political outcry.

The consensus: a Covid-19 vaccine will most likely be released to the public for voluntary immunization, and on a state-to-state basis become school mandated depending on access and projected political outcry. The return of normalcy is dependent on the success of the vaccination in the next 6-12 months (whether it is voluntary or mandated). There will be a learning curve in feeling comfortable with Covid-19 vaccination, but hopefully, through educating parents and children with trusted medical advisors the vaccination can stop the spread of Covid-19.

 

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