Commentary

Vaccine mandates are not the answer

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Individual responsibility and autonomy will always outweigh government coercion, and that includes getting vaccinated for COVID-19.

On CNN’s Sunday “State of the Union” program, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that there should be more vaccine requirements at the local level to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Upon being asked if he thought businesses and schools should require proof of vaccination, Fauci said, “I remain of that opinion, that I do believe at the local level, there should be more mandates.”

Responsible individuals do not need to be told how to live their lives as it pertains to their health, especially as the vaccines have not been granted full approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Though all states do require vaccinations for school attendance with varying exceptions, to require the administration of a vaccine that has only been given emergency use authorization, and not full, final approval by the FDA, would be unprecedented to say the least.

I personally got the vaccine as soon as I was eligible, and I have been encouraging everyone around me to do the same. But at the same time, I respect that it remains a personal choice. If an individual wants to wait until the vaccines receive full approval to make their decision, or has no interest at all in being vaccinated against COVID-19, that is their prerogative.

In the interview, though, Fauci did reiterate that the federal government will not mandate the administration of the coronavirus vaccines. That’s a good thing, for if the government wants to tackle vaccine hesitancy across the country, floating mandates and forcing the shots into people’s arms is not the way to do it.

In a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, nearly 30% of Americans said they have not received the COVID-19 vaccine and probably or definitely will not at any point.

As illustrated above, the share of unvaccinated adults that do not plan on getting the shot has increased nearly 20% since late April. 

As of today, 67.7% of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and 48% of the total population is fully vaccinated.

This number notably does not take into consideration natural immunity received from having COVID-19, which is likely significantly higher, so it is not a complete picture of immunity across the country.

If the nation’s leadership wants to tackle vaccine hesitancy, the answer is to provide as much information about them to the public as possible while attempting to depoliticize them, which is not happening as vaccinations have become increasingly partisan.

Even as the relatively new “delta” variant of COVID-19 spreads, the vaccines still remain highly effective against that strand and other prominent variants.

Though the vaccines are safe and effective, the decision of a government (or any entity) to require individuals to receive the jab, will likely drive opposition to vaccination as a result.

About Nick Linder

Nicholas Linder, of Cincinnati, is a communications Intern for Maine Policy Institute. He is going into his second year of studying finance and public policy analysis at The Ohio State University. On campus, he is involved with Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations and Business for Good.

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