COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to people over the age of 16, CHS should require vaccinations for 2021-2022 school year.

HiLite Staff

On March 31, governor Eric Holcomb announced that all individuals ages 16 and older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Indiana. From now on, many students at CHS are able to have access to the vaccine. The availability of the long-awaited vaccine poses many different questions, such as whether or not vaccines will be required to attend in-person school next year. 

Already, more than 200 colleges and universities announced that COVID-19 would be added to the list of required immunizations for students returning to campus in the fall of 2021. With many students at CHS becoming eligible for the vaccine, this change means the school has the opportunity to push for students to get vaccinated in order to build a safer community.

Therefore, we suggest that COVID-19 vaccinations should be mandated next school year and recommended for everyone, specifically for those that can get the vaccine safely to accommodate the student body and faculty at CHS. CHS should make its best efforts to encourage vaccination to all eligible students. 

Requiring vaccines for eligible students will help ease several issues at hand. Recently, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for 12-15 year olds. Because this age group covers all students at CHS, the whole student body can be protected and safer if they are vaccinated and safe from COVID-19.

Although this may seem like a drastic step, it is not unusual; many high schools and college campuses across the country are requiring vaccinations to ensure the safety of their students and staff.

In fact, for students already enrolled in school, there are many existing vaccination requirements in place to prevent the spread of diseases such as polio, diphtheria and tetanus. With similar mandates already in place, requiring the COVID-19 vaccine as well should not come as much of a shock.

However, if there are concerns, the administration should take a facilitating role by holding Q&A sessions for concerned families. If a family does not feel safe or feel comfortable getting the vaccine since it is so new, it would be unethical for the school to require or mandate it. Thus, we advise administration to work individually with these families to ensure their child is safe. 

By spending time educating students and parents on the benefits of vaccinations, many of these families may be more willing to get vaccinated to keep their children safe.

People who are allergic or have a medical condition that prevents them from getting vaccinated should not have received the vaccine due to any life-threatening factors.

To be clear, the HiLite staff strongly supports the decision to get vaccinated as it is a step forward to reopening the community and allowing everyone to spend time with their loved ones. If the school were to mandate it for everyone and work with students and families who may have concerns, CHS could be a safer and healthier school.