Opinion: College vaccine mandates are unfair on students


Bree Soule, Online Editor in Chief

With the pandemic slowly coming to a close and vaccines readily available, colleges have begun making vaccine requirements for their students who live on campus, yet don’t always give them the option to live off. While they have good intentions, these colleges are unfairly pushing the COVID-19 vaccine on those who do not want it.

Michigan State University (MSU), one of the top colleges in Michigan, is one of those colleges. They stated in a flyer, “Students must follow state vaccine laws in order to attend school. These laws are the minimum standard to help prevent disease outbreaks in school settings… Encourage parents to follow CDC’s recommended schedule; by doing so, school requirements will be met.” In doing this, it forces those who have always wanted to go to MSU or those who want a good education (but not the vaccine) to get it or else they have to go somewhere of poorer quality. Why should students have to attend a lesser college just because they chose for their own health to not get a vaccine?

According to one college leader in an article with Best Colleges, the vaccine mandate “takes away any ambiguity about whether individuals should be vaccinated.” Not only that, but the vaccines have not been tested very long and are only approved for emergency use. No one knows the long term side effects as, although the vaccines have been said to go through testing, they haven’t been tested for very long. Already, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been “paused by the U.S. following six reported cases of severe blood clots.”

The pushing of an unapproved vaccine, although the goal is to protect students, could potentially harm them in the long run. People have the right to decide what they want to do for their health, and if they don’t think it’s right, they should not be forced to get something potentially harmful.

Not all colleges are treating their students this way, however. AP News reported that “some colleges are leaving the decision to students, and others believe they can’t legally require vaccinations. At Virginia Tech, officials determined that they can’t because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only allowed the emergency use of the vaccines and hasn’t given them its full approval.” 

It’s colleges like these that will gain popularity over the next couple of years due to the colleges mandating vaccines and ultimately, pushing students away. Students are settling for lesser educations because a vaccine is getting shoved down their throat without their consent. This is unfair treatment by colleges and needs to stop.