Let’s end this pandemic and mandate vaccines in school


Rose Liu

MVLA should issue a vaccine mandate for all in-person students – except those with a religious or medical exemption – to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Protection against the COVID-19 virus should be Los Altos High School’s main concern. As of now, students wear masks in class and are encouraged to social distance, but that’s not enough. With the Delta variant on the rise, it is more important than ever to make sure students are fully vaccinated. 

Students with religious or medical exemptions should not have to transition back to online school because of the vaccine mandate. However, students who are capable of getting the vaccine should be vaccinated in order to come to school in person. 

The vaccine works. Those who are unvaccinated are five times more likely to get COVID-19 and 29 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to those who are fully vaccinated, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. The Pfizer vaccine is 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infection in people who are fully vaccinated. 

Despite the national, enforced suggestion to get the COVID-19 vaccine, there has been significant controversy around the decision of whether or not people should get the vaccine. Although the vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some people doubt the safety and side effects of the vaccine. If you haven’t heard them yourself, here are some of the reasons unvaccinated people have shared with me: 

“I don’t trust it, because who knows what’s in there?”

“I don’t know the long-term effects.”

“I don’t need it. I’m young and have a good immune system.” 

It really should not be this complicated. The 95 percent effectiveness rate of the vaccine and the fact that the majority of COVID-19 related deaths have been among the unvaccinated is enough to show that the vaccine works. 

Although some might say that the vaccine mandate allows the government to dictate people’s choices and what they do with their bodies, it is simply a requirement to ensure the safety of all students. The COVID-19 vaccine mandate will be just like other vaccine mandates that have been in place for years, including the requirement for the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine. 

Several districts in California, including Oakland and Los Angeles, have issued a vaccine mandate for all in-person students and will be effective next semester. Many other districts are starting to follow their lead and consider a vaccine mandate as well, and LAHS should do the same. 

Governor Gavin Newsom issued a vaccine mandate for all students in California that will likely become effective during the 2022-2023 school year. However, there are still 8 months left in this school year, and with 13 positive cases within the MVLA district already reported, this number can continue to increase. 

The decision to get vaccinated does not only affect one’s health —  it affects that of everyone around them as well. Choosing to not get the vaccine and continuing to come to school in person can create an unsafe environment for everyone else. 

Those who don’t feel comfortable getting vaccinated should stay home to protect themselves and other students. There is another virtual option that LAHS offers where students do not have to come on campus and still be able to learn. 

I know I am not alone when I say that I want the United States to return to normal as soon as possible. With schools across the nation opening back up, the first step is ensuring all students are vaccinated to prevent getting COVID-19 from others on campus.

It’s simple. Los Altos High School should require vaccinations for all in-person students – except those with religious or medical exemptions – to lessen the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. Otherwise, I fear that the increasing cases will give us no choice but to go back online.