OPINION: The benefits of a vaccine mandate

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Bella Watson
OPINION EDITOR

The COVID-19 vaccine prevents the virus from spreading and replicating. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Regardless of your age or where you live, it is likely that you have heard some debate over the vaccine debacle. As the war with coronavirus wages on, more and more places are requiring proof of vaccine for entry, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test if you are unvaccinated.

Americans everywhere are outraged, stating that vaccine mandates are unconstitutional. Protests can be found in nearly every city across the country. In Omaha, protestors have been seen outside of UNMC, demanding “freedom” while doctors’ struggle to save the lives of dying COVID patients.

Citizens across the country claim they cannot trust the vaccine due to its quick creation, and many claim that they need to wait it out to see the long term effects the vaccine may impose. The ugly truth is that we do not have the time to wait, because there are still an average of 1,000 U.S. citizens dying of COVID each day. The media has become riddled with propaganda that has instilled such a deep fear into people, that they no longer trust science or the professionals behind medical advances and are willing to watch as more people die every day.

According to the CDC, 98% of all coronavirus cases that are hospitalized are unvaccinated, and because of that, they are 11 times more likely to die of the virus than those who are vaccinated. The virus has again reached a point where our hospitals are at capacity, and because of that, patients are not being properly cared for. Hospitals are being forced to turn patients who are not suffering from COVID away, causing even more casualties.

It is bewildering how many Americans are willing to be idle while hundreds of thousands continue to die. Conspiracy theories created by fear mongers have become more credible than doctors and scientists whose lives have been dedicated to medicine.

This is not to say that everyone who is unvaccinated is ignorant. Communities derived mostly of people of color or low-income citizens are not only substantially undereducated regarding the vaccine, but they are not even given the tools or resources that provide education about the vaccine. The CDC found that minorities are more likely to contract COVID due to many of them being employed as essential workers.

It is crucial, now more than ever, for our local governments to enforce vaccination mandates. It is imperative that our government aids in the education of underprivileged neighborhoods, as well as minorities and people of color. America has been continuously devastated throughout this pandemic by misinformation and conspiracies, and we are at a point where a mandate could help save lives.

Many argue that a vaccination mandate is an infringement on their rights, but vaccine mandates have always been around. Public schools require a long list of vaccinations to attend class, and most college campuses require more to live in student housing. There are nearly one dozen vaccinations kids get throughout their time in school, from Hepatitis B, to Meningitis to measles.

It is undeniable that the vaccination can aid in saving lives, even for those who are medically exempt. If enough of the population gets their vaccine, we will reach herd immunity, lowering the coronavirus death rates. This has been proven to work before. In the early 1900’s, polio was running rampant through the country. In 1935, a vaccination trial began, and quickly began to diminish numbers. Today, polio has been nearly eradicated due to herd immunity.

We are at a point where we, as a country, must make a decision for the betterment of mankind. We’re at a turning point in history, where we can either allow coronavirus to continue to devastate the country or enforce vaccinations to protect the masses.

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