Head to Head: Vaccine mandates are authoritarian and un-American


Brynn Lundy/The Lion's Roar

A student gets a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine administered by a Southeastern nursing student on campus.

Within the past few months, several institutions around the country have indicated that they will implement vaccine mandates. It reads like something out of a dystopian novel or sounds like some conspiracy theory you would find on Alex Jones’s website: but it is real. 

President Joe Biden announced a vaccine mandate for federal workers in late July. Several other companies such as Walmart, Google and Disney have announced similar requirements. Schools and universities around the country, including both LSU and Southeastern, announced that they will seek to mandate the vaccine once it has received FDA approval. 

San Francisco announced that proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test will be required to enter certain indoor settings such as bars, restaurants and gyms. New Orleans has also announced similar requirements. 

As I read all of these developments, I can’t help but wonder how we got here. Why are people who have legitimate concerns about a vaccine that has not yet been fully approved being treated so harshly? How are these mandates even possible in the United States? 

Regardless of whether you have been vaccinated or not, the idea that getting a controversial vaccine should be mandatory for you to live your normal life should concern you. I will not mince words: it is authoritarian and immoral. 

We are living in an environment with incredibly inconsistent information about the vaccine from almost all sources, even the CDC. Yet, we are also in an environment where the rules cannot be questioned. Even suspicion of the vaccine is not tolerated. 

It was only a couple of months ago that we were told by President Biden and the CDC that vaccinated people did not have to wear masks. Now, we are being told that because of the new Delta Variant, even if you are vaccinated, you must wear a mask. 

Given these developments, I don’t think it is unreasonable to question the effectiveness of the vaccine. If you still have to wear a mask and still catch COVID, what is the point of getting vaccinated? 

This is the question that a sizable portion of the American people are asking. They are hearing so much conflicting information. They are frustrated and feel lied to. 

We were told that if they get the vaccine, our lives will go back to normal. Now, even with a vaccine, we have the same restrictions we had a year ago. 

In a healthy democracy, everyone would have an opportunity to examine the given data and have a say in what the restrictions should be. However, from the very beginning of this pandemic, this has not been the case. 

Of course, this pandemic has been devastating. People have lost their loved ones and as I write this, hospitalizations and cases are increasing dramatically in Louisiana. Every death is a tragedy, and I am in no way trying to discount anyone who has lost their life to COVID-19. 

With all of this being said, people still have a right in this country to question their government, and they should. The CDC is not infallible, Dr. Fauci is not infallible, no expert is infallible. The words of experts should not be treated as gospel.

We have handed a concerning degree of power to both the state and federal government over the past two years. The precedent of governmental control we have set is absolutely terrifying. 

Almost every single one of these decisions was made by a bureaucracy. People who were not elected and have no accountability. Drastic decisions that have dramatic impacts on our everyday lives are being made without our consent. There is absolutely no sign that these bureaucrats will allow us to return to the “old normal” anytime soon. 

They locked us inside of our homes, forbade us from going to church and now, it is a very real possibility that proof of vaccination will be required to go to certain indoor settings. This is not a conspiracy theory, it is already a reality in New Orleans. 

The amount of pressure and coercion to take this vaccine is not at all democratic. The more vaccine mandates are announced, the more those who have not been vaccinated will be hesitant and even hostile. 

We cannot allow our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms to be treated so frivolously. The American people deserve a say in conversations surrounding the vaccine. We cannot afford to grant the government the power to force us to take a quickly developed vaccine.


Editor’s note: This opinion piece is one of two articles in a head-to-head series. Read the other opinion piece here.