Head to Head: Vaccines can keep college students healthy

Dr. Crain recently made a statement that Southeastern will request mandates for the COVID-19 vaccine once it gets FDA approval. But does the vaccine deserve FDA approval? Does this decision affect the rights of students? I will discuss these concerns that some may have and why everyone should, in fact, get the vaccine. 

First off, the Delta variant is different from COVID-19 that first spread in March 2020.

It is as contagious as chicken pox and causes more severe symptoms.

It originated in India, which only has vaccines for 18.3% of their population currently compared to the United States that has vaccines for 54.7% of their population (bloomberg.com). There are several other variants as well, including Alpha, Gamma and Beta. 

If we don’t distribute more vaccines across the world, the virus will become more resistant as more variants form, and eventually, COVID might even become a non-curable disease. 

For those who say you can still get COVID-19 with the vaccine, yes you can. However, take this as an analogy: wearing a seatbelt in a car doesn’t prevent you from getting in a car accident, but it can prevent you from getting seriously injured. This is exactly what the shots do, they can prevent you from getting hospitalized or facing death from COVID-19. 

The statistics prove this, with over 99% of patients being hospitalized from COVID not being fully vaccinated (WebMD). 

People who are young or don’t have underlying conditions may think they are invincible to this statistic, however, they are not. People 18-29 are reporting the most cases statewide in the most recent wave, with 3,772 COVID-19 cases the week of July 15-21 (LDH). Natural immunity may cause one to think they are invincible, but this only lasts for about 90 days. 

Some may question how safe the vaccines actually are. Unlike many vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna do not contain a dead or weakened version of the virus. It uses mRNA, which gives your immune system a genetic instruction manual on how to respond to the actual virus. This is different from DNA as it is never in the nucleus and broken down quickly, therefore it won’t alter your DNA. This is also why the vaccine process was super fast, mRNA allows a faster approach than a regular vaccine and there has been research on this method for years when trying to find a cure for SARS. 

There have been about 1,000 cases of heart inflammation or allergic reactions, however, this is very rare compared to the millions of shots administered. As a fully vaccinated person myself, I had no side effects on my first vaccine and a slight hot flash and dizziness on the second shot for only about 30 minutes after waking up. 

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was also paused after a small number of rare blood clots. However, all these cases were women under 50 and they may be taking other medications such as birth control with estrogen that also can cause these side effects. 

Pregnant and breastfeeding women can get the shot and it does not mess with fertility. Overall, most people feel less sick getting the vaccine than getting COVID-19. 

However, some people who do not want the vaccine are the same people who don’t want to wear masks as well. The reasoning that these people often use is based on “personal freedom” and there are even theories that the vaccine is inserting chips to track us. 

Although the truth is, the government is already tracking us through our cell phones and there are other vaccines that are already required for students before they even enter elementary schools such as Tetanus, Hepatitis B, Polio, Rubella, and Measles/Mumps. (CDC) In addition, the government also makes all men 18-26 sign up for a mandatory draft and we all have to pay taxes. The government already handles a large portion of our lives and we shouldn’t single out this issue as one of politics when it is really about everyone’s health. 

Similar to when we first found out about the virus happening in China, most people do not care until it affects them. Please do not wait until it is too late.


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