By Aditi Magesh, Grade 10
The monumental American vaccine mandate has been all over the news this month. Depending on where you get your news, you have likely seen opinions that range from hearty approval of the move to rage at the Biden administration for stripping away the freedom of choice for getting the vaccine. The mandate has brought with it a domino effect: countries like Greece, Italy, and France are following the lead of the USA, though their mandates are aimed primarily at care workers rather than federal employees.
We must first understand why the mandate was announced in the first place. In America, only about 40%-60% of municipal employees have opted to get a vaccine. According to WHO, “Reported side effects to COVID-19 vaccines have mostly been mild to moderate and short-lasting.”, so negative side effects, other than a possible fever, are short-term and mild. These employees interact with a large number of people on a daily basis, so unvaccinated employees mean that there will be more chances of the virus spreading.
Many were unhappy and angry with this turn of events. Religious and philosophical beliefs have long been accepted as reasons for not getting vaccinated. However, with these mandates, those reasons become null and void. This is why some people believe that their freedom of choice, which is an essential right, is being stripped away. This outrage is being used by Republican leaders to paint democrats and by extension the liberal “left-leaning” side of politics as a force that wants to take away freedom. This is a bad image for any administration to have, let alone during a pandemic.
Getting this safe vaccine is the best way to ensure that the pandemic ends quicker. It brings the US one step closer to herd immunity, with the rest of the world following its wake. The raging debate sparks interesting questions: What comes first - giving back to the community for the good of everyone, or your belief system and philosophy? In situations like these, can you compromise between them, or is it set in stone?