Sprinkles in Support of Mandating

Eighty-five percent of prospective students – and 79% of parents – say they would enroll in/send a child to a college where the COVID-19 vaccine is required (Maguire Associates).

“Hopkins’ early decision [to mandate vaccines] shows officials there understand what is needed to protect people, get the economy back on track and return to normalcy both on campus and off: “Ensuring that the overwhelming percentage of our community’s population is vaccinated will greatly reduce the risk of the virus’s spread on our campuses and will also protect our neighbors in Baltimore,” the leadership team wrote.

We wouldn’t expected anything less from a university with world-renowned medical and public health schools. Others should follow its example — and go further, also requiring faculty and staff to receive vaccinations before the start of the fall semester. If students have to comply, so should the people who will stand before them in class each day…

Some colleges around the country say they are waiting for COVID-19 vaccines to earn full FDA clearances before issuing a blanket requirement. Currently the shots are under “emergency use authorization,” a designation used to speed up availability during public health emergencies. While there is some threat of court challenges because of this, we suspect some universities may be erring on the side of being overly cautious, or even using this as a stall tactic, given that the vaccine is now available to all American adults.

Many college students have already proven they aren’t the most reliable at social distancing, masking up or skipping parties to protect everyone’s health. The decision to vaccinate should be taken out of their hands.”

Editorial Board, Baltimore Sun

“Imposing vaccination mandates raises ethical and legal questions. Yet, for college campuses, there is strong precedent that vaccination requirements can be imposed given the potentially, rapid spread of infectious diseases in dense live-learn communities. Indeed, the University System of Georgia already has the authority to impose immunization requirements as part of its governing policy documents

Hard decisions rarely have universal approval, yet a vaccination requirement is precisely what is needed to help protect both the people and the operations of higher education institutions across the state.”

Joshua S. Weitz, professor of biological sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology and founding director of the Quantitative Biosciences Ph.D. program at Georgia Tech (published in the AJC)

“Imagine you’re a student in Duke University’s Class of 2022, like me. Your sophomore year was cut short by the pandemic. You weren’t welcomed on campus last fall because the university needed to de-densify and prioritized underclassmen. You watched as the Class of 2021 lost out on traditions like campus-wide concerts and Duke basketball games in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

You probably would give almost anything to have a near-normal senior year.

The pandemic stole valuable opportunities from college students across the country. Now with COVID-19 vaccines widely available, colleges can give the Class of 2022 the gift of a normal(ish) senior year. Duke and other universities made the right choice by requiring all in-person students to be vaccinated before returning to campus next fall. Other U.S. schools, private and public alike, should also grant their Class of 2022 students a last year of college memories…

Duke set a bold example by requiring COVID-19 vaccines of its students. It’s time for other U.S. schools to do the same. After the year we’ve had, current college students deserve as close to a normal school year as possible. Require the vaccines. Keep us safe.”

Maya Miller, Duke student (published in the Charlotte Observer)

Sprinkles in Opposition to Mandating

Ninety-one percent of prospective students – and 81% of parents – say they would enroll in/send a child to a college where the COVID-19 vaccine is available, but not required (Maguire Associates).

  • Seventy-eight percent of prospective first-year students – and 70% of parents – say they would enroll in/send a child to a college where the COVID-19 vaccine is not available (same study as above).

“The government shouldn’t punish anyone or deny privileges for private, medical decisions. Rather, state and local governments should provide residents with information and access to the COVID vaccines instead of ultimatums.

Recent legislation introduced in the Michigan House would preemptively prohibit the state and local governments from requiring proof of vaccination…

While the language doesn’t specifically mention public universities like Oakland University and the University of Michigan, there could be amendments coming that would explicitly prohibit those schools from requiring students get vaccinated to live on campus.

These schools are in a tight spot and should have leeway to maintain a safe campus for all students and staff. They need a more nuanced approach from the Legislature that carves out space for universities to require vaccination to live on campus as long as they leave room for medical and religious exemptions…

The Legislature is right to stand up for personal liberty, but lawmakers must preserve the goal of letting businesses, institutions and individuals make the best choices for themselves as they seek a return to normalcy.”

Editorial Board, Detroit News

“The question is, why are schools doing this, and is it a good idea? From a medical standpoint, it’s hard to understand the reasoning behind this. As a group, young people are not at risk of dying from COVID. Maybe more significant, huge numbers of college students have already been infected with the coronavirus. We know that, and therefore they have a natural immunity to it. Why do these kids need a vaccine? No one has explained that the question has rarely been asked.

In no other circumstance do we immunize people against a virus for which they already have antibodies. From a medical perspective, that doesn’t make sense. It seems especially strange to require it in this case. None of the coronavirus vaccines have been approved by the FDA. They’re experimental medicines, they’re administered under emergency authorization. That doesn’t mean they’re dangerous, and we’re not claiming the Coronavirus vaccines are dangerous. But there are unresolved concerns about their long-term effects on some people, including their effects on female fertility. That is not a conspiracy theory. That is true. It’s an honest question that no one so far has been able to answer. And, it’s not simply being asked by partisans. It’s being asked by practicing physicians.”

Tucker Carlson, Fox News

“Staff and student workers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are now able to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. I appreciate the convenience of being offered a free vaccination on campus, and how swiftly it is being dispersed. However, I am a bit wary of the rapidly constructed vaccine.

The vaccine may be the cure-all, but we have no possible idea yet. As the fall semester rolls around, receiving the vaccine should be recommended to students and staff, but not required…

It is understandable that a newly created, underdeveloped vaccine causes hesitation for many people. The university should not require staff, student workers and students to receive the vaccine in the fall of 2021. COVID-19 is a deadly, serious disease, but we should have the right to choose if we want to receive a vaccine that could have unpredictable side effects.”

Emerson McClure, UNL Student (published in The Daily Nebraskan)