Pro-Vaccine But Anti-Mandate

Myriam Zilles/Unsplash

Denitsa Raichkova/Staff Writer

Unpopular opinion: You can be both pro-vaccine and unsupportive of vaccine mandates. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly polarized society, in the United States and worldwide. Resisting a forcible “no jab no work” mandate does not make you anti-science or anti-vaccine. Let’s encourage getting vaccinated against COVID-19 without infringing on the rights and liberties of other individuals.

The Biden Administration recently announced a new rule requiring large companies with over 100 employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccines. Regular testing requirements are the only exception. Companies that do not comply face penalties of $14,000 per violation. The emergency rule, under the jurisdiction of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), was announced in November; however, it does not come into effect until January 4th, 2022. The time period before its implementation is crucial for litigation attempts.

This emergency rule has caused such an outrage that numerous states and businesses have already filed lawsuits against the federal government. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit has already blocked the OSHA rule and deemed it “fatally flawed”. It is unconstitutional and exceeds the authority of both OSHA and the federal government. 

Thankfully, on Nov. 17th OSHA suspended the rule following the pending litigation. Nonetheless, the faith of the COVID-19  vaccine mandates will probably reach the Supreme Court. 

The unpopularity of restrictive COVID-19 measures and intrusive vaccination requirements became evident in the Virginia and New Jersey races. A Republican governor won in Virginia, while the gubernatorial race in blue New Jersey came too close for Democratic comfort. The support for the Republican party, which campaigns against vaccine mandates and infringement of liberties, has significantly improved since 2020

The reality is that vaccine mandates are not that popular among individuals worldwide. Europe is also experiencing waves of protests against mandatory vaccination and the use of green passes (proof of vaccination). European measures against the pandemic are significantly more authoritarian than in the US, especially Florida. Green passes are required to enter schools, gyms, movie theatres, restaurants, beauty salons, etc. While in Florida choosing whether to get vaccinated remains a personal choice, other countries are not that lucky. Personal freedom is almost non-existent. 

Don’t get me wrong. The  COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. This is a scientific fact. They provide excellent protection against variants and tremendously lower hospitalization and death rates. They play a crucial role in protecting individuals by minimizing the severity of the disease. Getting sick or transmitting the virus still remain possibilities; however, vaccines remain the best way to stay healthy and fight the pandemic. Vaccines should also be free and easily accessible to all. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 should be encouraged but not mandated.

Individuals should still have the chance to deny getting the jab for whatever reason. It is within their personal rights to make the best decision for their well-being. No one should be forced to get vaccinated by threatening to take away their source of livelihood or by barring them from public spaces. If they have deemed the threat from the virus low and wish to remain unprotected, it is well within their liberty. Freedom is to be respected. 

Forcing people to resign over a vaccine mandate in the middle of a labor shortage and a supply chain crisis is not the best course of action. First responders are already walking out en masse. Losing police forces will have a negative impact on the safety of our communities. Standing against a vaccine mandate defends both individual liberties and crucial jobs. Governor DeSantis is already offering bonuses to law enforcement officers who relocate to Florida amid the mandates. In Florida, we support our first responders and respect personal choice. 

It is perfectly acceptable to be pro-vaccine and encourage others to get the jab. The health benefits are immense and vulnerable individuals should consider protecting themselves against the virus. You can believe in the merits of vaccination and still stand against vaccine mandates. They are an infringement on personal rights. “It’s just 2 weeks to slow the spread” has gone too far…

Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community

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