4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020


Colleges consider requiring COVID vaccinations for students as young adults drive rise in cases

Posted at 3:37 PM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 15:37:53-04

Students attending Rutgers University this fall will need to be vaccinated for COVID-19. While the New Jersey state school may be one of the first colleges to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations, others are likely to follow suit.

There are many reasons for this. It would certainly help make the classroom a safer environment where students could focus on learning rather than worrying about getting infected.

Another reason could be because younger adults are driving up case numbers for COVID-19. A vaccinated population means less spread and fewer sick students and faculty. Younger folks are not considered high risk for getting seriously ill from COVID but it does happen - they can get very sick, they can end up hospitalized, and some have even died.

Now, while the death rate for younger folks is low, don’t forget that they can still end up feeling unwell for months. And have to deal with long-lasting symptoms like fatigue, trouble concentrating, body aches, and shortness of breath. Any of these can really have a negative effect on a person’s quality of life.

It’s not uncommon for colleges to require vaccinations. For instance, there are colleges that require students to be vaccinated for diseases like hepatitis B, meningitis and measles, mumps, and rubella. Even if colleges do mandate that students be vaccinated for COVID-19, there will still be exceptions. Like for instance, religious or medical reasons. Also, any student who's not attending class in-person and is studying remotely will not need to be immunized for the virus.

The Pew Research Center did a recent study in early March. They did find that younger folks were less inclined to get vaccinated for COVID-19 when compared to folks aged 65 and older. That’s not really surprising since older folks are the ones at higher risk of severe disease. Now, just because there is hesitancy, doesn’t mean that younger adults are against vaccinations. There was another survey done by a research company called College Pulse.

They surveyed 1,000 undergraduates. And what they found was that 71% agreed that colleges do have the right to require student vaccinations for COVID. So here’s how I look at this - if a young person can avoid an illness, and possibly avoid passing it to others who may end up getting seriously sick or even dying, then in my opinion, getting vaccinated is a great thing to do. It can help protect the more vulnerable population. It can help us reach herd immunity. It can stop the virus from replicating. Remember, the less the virus replicates, the less likely we’ll see new and possibly more dangerous variants.

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View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

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