Universities should encourage students to receive the coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible and aim for reaching herd immunity for the fall 2021 semester.
Long Beach State and California State University, Fullerton have announced they are not planning on mandating vaccination for students for the fall, and California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro said during a student press conference in February that the 23-campus system cannot require campus-goers to be vaccinated due to “legal issues.”
Although I would support a vaccine mandate for students, I understand that it is not currently be possible under the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization.
Though the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for emergency use, this is not quite the same as standard FDA approval. The FDA “expects manufacturers who receive an EUA to continue their clinical trials to obtain additional safety and effectiveness information and pursue licensure,” or approval.
If the vaccine were able to receive standard FDA approval, I feel this would allow universities to implement a mandate.
Until this becomes possible, it is important for institutions like CSULB to increase awareness of the benefits of receiving the vaccine as well as access for those who are interested.
I have not received my vaccination since I am not yet eligible under the university’s current tier system, though I am hoping it becomes available for students in May. I definitely want to be vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall as I would not feel comfortable participating to face-to-face instruction without doing so.
Now that the state has progressed to Phase 1B, which gives eligibility to those with disabilities and underlying health conditions 16 or older, I highly encouraged anyone who is qualified to get vaccinated. Of course, I understand that some individuals are unable to receive the vaccine for medical reasons.
For society to reopen, it’s important for everyone to do their part to help reach the goal of herd immunity, or “when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection,” according to the World Health Organization.
As I have been stuck at home for over a year now, I am really looking forward to the chance to travel once again, though I wouldn’t feel comfortable to do so until I receive my vaccine. If I am vaccinated by the summer, I hope I can take a road trip with my family to Mammoth Lakes to visit hiking trails and go horseback riding.
I’ve gone stir crazy at times staying at home everyday, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity of being in an environment outside of my home in the South Bay. While it’s nice to get some fresh air and enjoy nature, going for walks around the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Lunada Bay and Point Vicente Interpretive Center are starting to lose their appeal.
Until most countries reach herd immunity, I would not be comfortable traveling abroad. Many countries have proposed and implemented vaccine passports to improve the ease of international travel, though I don’t support this system because of the potential problems involved with rules varying from country to country.
I am looking forward to when I can start going out again, but for now I’m fine waiting until I receive my vaccination and encourage those who are eligible to receive theirs.