Vaccination Mandates are Precedented and Essential

Cooper Aitken, Entertainment Editor

On October 1, Governor Gavin Newsom announced his plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations in schools statewide, the vaccination deadlines varying based on age group.  This decision caused controversy amongst CUSD students and parents, where thousands of students across California stayed home from school on October 18 in protest of the decision.

Prior to this on September 9, the Los Angeles County Board of Education voted 6-0 to require COVID vaccinations for all students 12 years and older attending in-person classes. Los Angeles’s deadlines are sooner and more strict than the statewide mandate the governor announced. 

A main point of opposition to the mandate in schools is fear surrounding the short period the vaccine was developed and tested in, however the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is the product of 20 years of new vaccine production research. 

Research formally began in 1987 when Robert Malone conducted an experiment in which human cells absorbed mRNA and began producing proteins from it. Since then, mRNA has been studied and developed for potential medical use, as this process of creating vaccines would be much quicker than the processes before it. Eventually in 2019 development of a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine began using the technology that had been in development for 32 years.

While vaccines typically took years, even decades, to develop and test, the COVID-19 vaccine cannot be compared to previous vaccine development times as they used completely different methods to develop. While testing may have seemed rushed, the same amount of trials were used before approving the vaccine as previous ones, scientists instead tested more subjects in a shorter period of time than normal due to the extenuating circumstances.

No student should go to school in fear of contracting the delta variant and spreading it to loved ones.

Approximately 21 million Americans aged 12-17 have received at least one dose of the vaccine. In 1977 the federal government introduced the Childhood Immunization Initiative and soon after all 50 states approved vaccination requirements for public school attendance. Due to its high transmission rates, measles became one of the most required vaccinations, 90% of unimmunized people in contact with it also contracting the virus. 

Following these vaccination mandates, measles cases and subsequent deaths dropped dramatically, outbreaks being seen again only due to vaccine hesitancy and misinformation. The release of the COVID-19 vaccine has seen similar results, as 91% of deaths due to COVID-19 are unvaccinated individuals. 

The measles vaccine has been mandatory in most schools for almost 50 years, making COVID vaccine mandates precedented measures to ensure student and public health.  No student should go to school in fear of contracting the delta variant and spreading it to loved ones. 

Currently it has been 11 months since the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for adult use, and since then no long term side effects of the vaccination have been detected, however several long term conditions, some requiring several hospital visits to treat, following a COVID-19 infection have been identified.

It seems absurd that some individuals would rather have children get sick and possibly suffer long-term conditions from an illness that is preventable with a vaccination that shows no signs of long-term side effects. 

Reluctance and fears around vaccines due to misinformation spread by social media websites have caused countless unnecessary deaths of children, and we need to protect our school district from preventable tragedies. Putting our trust in doctors and scientists is necessary if we want to stay safe at school.