At this point, just about everyone who wants to and is able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine has done so. It’s time for SIUE to step up and keep students safe.
Now that we’re fully back in-person learning, COVID-19 precautions are more important than ever. As of December 2021, 79.57 percent of the Edwardsville campus is fully vaccinated, compared to 80.43 percent of the East Saint Louis Center and 89.13 percent of the Alton campus. While these numbers are encouraging, schools including the University of Illinois, Saint Louis University and Washington University are requiring all students to be fully vaccinated. SIUE should, too.
All SIUE students must provide proof of immunization against rubeola, rubella, mumps, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis and meningitis, unless they have a medical exemption. I’m sure that the average student doesn’t know the ingredients of these vaccines or how they’re made, and yet they have them anyway. For those who like to parrot COVID-19’s one percent fatality rate, the case fatality of mumps is 1.6-3.8 per 10,000.
Polio, diphtheria and chicken pox have become extremely rare in the United States thanks to routine vaccinations. This could be said for COVID-19, but sadly, the COVID-19 vaccine has become a political football. According to a recent survey, 21 percent of adults ages 18-29 say that they will never get the vaccine. We are past the point of educating or convincing hesitant people.
I am in no way frustrated with those who cannot get the vaccine for medical reasons. I am incredibly frustrated with those who spread misinformation or abuse their personal freedoms despite putting others in danger. Your personal freedom is infringed upon because you are required to drive sober, abstain from smoking indoors and get other vaccines, in the name of public safety.
Perhaps the most infuriating anti-vaxxers are those who compare themselves to victims of the Holocaust because they have to do these things. Do you have to have a driver’s license to drive a car? Yes? Then don’t compare having to show a vaccination card to get into a concert to being forced to wear a yellow star.
I do believe in medical freedom. For example, I believe someone diagnosed with cancer should have the right to refuse treatment. But cancer isn’t contagious.
I understand that requiring the COVID-19 vaccine would generate controversy for SIUE, and they may lose students. However, SIUE needs to step up and keep its students safe. After three semesters of online school, I am thrilled to be back in person. I’d like to stay back, and do so safely. Saint Louis University is strongly committed to staying in-person for the rest of the semester, but their vaccine requirement adds an extra layer of protection for students and faculty. SIUE should follow suit.