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Opinion: All in-person COCC students and staff should be required to get vaccinated

Miina McCown/The Broadside 

One can say that vaccines are a hot topic right now among current events, online discussions and our day-to-day affairs. What one might think is a simple solution to calming the waters of the COVID-19 storm has somehow morphed into a mutant of politics resulting in an unnecessary amount of controversy and dispute.

To some people, this might seem like just another opinion about the COVID-19 vaccines. However, this is a topic that directly affects Central Oregon Community College students, staff and our community in Central Oregon as a whole. It’s not something that can be pushed to the back of our minds, saved for later. It’s urgent and affects the ever-changing COVID-19 numbers.

With the rise of the vaccine, there has also been an increase of anti-vaxxers and others who refuse to be vaccinated for political reasons, such as freedom or choice. And right now, they do have the choice. Even at COCC, students and staff who have the capabilities to get the vaccine aren’t required but only encouraged to get the vaccine.

According to Oregon State University Cascades, a neighboring college’s website, “OSU’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement applies to students and employees who learn, work or engage on campus.” Students and staff of the in-person community at OSUC aren’t given a choice for the vaccine.

But should COCC really give anti-vaxxers and others who refuse the vaccine the choice?

During a global pandemic, such as the one we are currently experiencing, hospital space is especially valued and weighty. However, when anti-vaxxers catch the virus, they tend to take up a hospital bed. Is the problem becoming obvious? Those who refuse to get vaccinated despite having no health conditions preventing them to, decide to trust the medical system only when it is convenient for them.

In other words, they refuse to get a vaccine (which are readily available) but then decide to trust the same system when it is convenient for them. Despite this flawed logic and lack of common sense, people are still not fully required to be vaccinated in most American workplaces and schools.  

Madison Neiswonger, a student at COCC stated that she believes that everyone has the right to make their own decisions when considering a personal issue, but a global pandemic is a different matter. “With COVID-19, it’s not a personal issue, it’s a global issue. The vaccines are meant to keep you and, more importantly others safe. By not taking the vaccine, you’re willingly putting others in danger, which isn’t responsible or morally correct.”

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