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UNT should require COVID-19 vaccines in order for students to attend classes in-person

UNT should require COVID-19 vaccines in order for students to attend classes in-person

UNT should require COVID-19 vaccines in order for students to attend classes in-person
April 22
12:05 2021

If you have gotten your COVID-19 vaccine, you should have received a small paper card alongside your shot. That card, sometimes called a “vaccine passport,” verifies that you have received your vaccine, and thus have a large degree of immunity from the virus. As more people are getting vaccinated — currently a little more than 25 percent of Americans have received their vaccine — the question of events and institutions requiring proof of vaccination is starting to raise.

Already, universities and colleges across the country are requiring their students to get vaccinated in order to attend in-person classes. However, the chances of that happening at UNT and other Texas public colleges became slim after Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting state agencies from requiring a COVID-19 vaccine passport in any situation. While Abbott is at this moment well within his rights as governor in issuing this order, it doesn’t seem to make much sense. 

All different types of vaccines are required by the Texas Health Department in order to attend K-12 public schools. Polio, diphtheria and Hepatitis B vaccinations are those that are required by the state of Texas. Furthermore, the meningitis vaccine is a requirement by all colleges in the state in order to attend classes on campus. The state requiring students to be vaccinated is not a new phenomenon, and it’s certainly not a political issue. At least, it wasn’t until now. 

I have my own host of theories for why Gov. Abbott has chosen this to be the hill that he dies on, ranging from senility, to Mad Cow disease, to him just being evil, yet it’s likely none of these reasons are the case. I would assume this is more of Abbott drumming up support from who he believes to be his base. While the subject of vaccines should not be political, Abbott is making it a political stance. Abbott must believe a large enough portion of likely voters resent the idea of being forced to get a vaccine. 

While I know that it’s a grave accusation on the character of our governor to suggest he’s willing to trade human lives in return for staying in power, I ask readers to look back at the past year. Since COVID-19 popped up in Texas, over 49,000 people have died from the virus. These deaths may have been directly caused by accidents, but the environment that led to their deaths was created by the decisions that Abbott made to chose to “re-open” Texas in May 2020, and as a result, we saw cases skyrocket in July and again in winter 2020-21.

So, while our ‘brave’ governor boldly takes the stance against mandatory vaccines, regular working people will continue to be put in danger by those who refuse to take the vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine has been proven to be 97 percent effective at preventing infection. What this means is that even if you are one of the three percent of people who get vaccinated and still contracts COVID-19, the vaccine is proven to keep your illness from getting so severe that you would need to go to the hospital or be put on a ventilator. However, unvaccinated people can still spread the virus to vaccinated people. If we want our campuses to be safe again, and to have as close to a normal college experience as possible while we attend UNT, we need to make sure that everyone attending in-person classes has received the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Featured Illustration by Pooja Patel

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Javi Cavazos Weems

Javi Cavazos Weems

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