Since the COVID-19 pandemic began last March, researchers have been scrambling to create an effective vaccine as quickly as possible. Now, ten months later, vaccines are rolling out for individuals to receive. This is an unprecedented achievement for modern medicine and one that should be celebrated.
A vaccine, while it may not mean the complete eradication of this pandemic, signals that the end is closer than ever.
Currently there are multiple vaccines being produced. Pharmaceutical corporations, Pfizer and Moderna, are the two companies taking the lead on vaccine research and development. On December 8, a 90 year old grandmother living in London became the first person to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Since then, many more, from actor Sir Ian McKellen to Former Vice President Pence and President Biden have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
With the vaccine beginning to be distributed, many industries are starting to plan the best way to reopen. For some, this includes making the COVID vaccine mandatory for employees. According to Dr. Fauci, institutions that could be considering a mandatory vaccination include education, healthcare, and even airlines.
A mandatory COVID vaccine is a dangerous notion for both employees and consumers. While employees should be given the option to object to the vaccine, companies can mandate that they receive them so long as it complies with workplace law. Just because a company or school can, does not mean that they should. The COVID vaccine is incredibly new. Not only is it new, it took only nine months to create. Vaccines normally take between five and ten years to develop. With a vaccine that is developed this quickly, it is normal for some to be hesitant about receiving it.
The COVID-19 vaccine is not the same as the vaccines for smallpox or polio. The vaccines for those diseases took years to develop. There was more confidence that safety was not sacrificed for speed.
It is one thing for a company or school to require that their employees receive vaccinations. It is another for industries to refuse to serve anyone who chooses to opt out of the vaccine. Some airlines have indicated that they will take steps toward instituting this policy. Australian airline Quantas announced in November that it would require its passengers to provide proof of vaccination to be able to fly with the company. Airlines are also starting to experiment with apps that would help passengers securely send their vaccine confirmations to airlines ahead of their flights.
With the possibility that airlines and other industries could be requiring vaccinations, this raises the question of what the government will do.
The federal government has not indicated that it is looking to make the vaccine mandatory at this point. President Biden has also said that he is not in favor of a mandatory vaccine. However, that could change in the future. Depending on the effectiveness of the vaccine and how quickly the virus spreads and mutates over time, vaccinations could become mandatory at the state and local levels—with few exceptions.
There is no need at this point for the COVID vaccine to be required. Many across the country are eager to receive it. Many are also exercising caution. There is nothing wrong with either option. Everyone should be allowed to make their own decision on this matter, especially as it concerns their health.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.