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Mandate vaccination against COVID-19

What if I told you that you had the power to stop something from killing millions of people. Would you do all that you could do to stop it? The COVID-19 virus has killed more than 4,500,000 people to date, including over 700,000 people in the United States alone.

Despite our growing knowledge of this virus and the vast availability of reliable, effective vaccines, this number continues to rise each day. As it stands, only about 56% of the United States population is vaccinated. This is not enough. In order to completely stop COVID-19 related infections and deaths, 100% of the population must be vaccinated. This is why mandatory population-wide COVID-19 vaccination is essential to decrease the spread of this deadly virus. Every citizen should do their part to stop this deadly killer.

Mandatory vaccination should be put into effect for all U.S. citizens, without any exemptions. Deciding not to get vaccinated does not just put one individual's life at risk, but it endangers every single person that he or she encounters. Proof of vaccination should be required for all individuals to be allowed to attend restaurants, shops, movies, sports games, etc. In addition, all work sites should mandate COVID-19 vaccination as well.

By requiring individuals to show proof of vaccination at any event or at any place they attend, vaccination rates will inevitably rise. All three vaccines on the market are very effective against both contracting COVID-19 and in preventing serious illness resulting in hospitalization and death. The Pfizer vaccine is 91% effective, the Moderna vaccine is 94% effective, and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is slightly lower, at 66% effective. While it is true that natural immunity may play a role in prevention of acquiring COVID-19, it is not very reliable when compared to vaccination. Regardless of which vaccine an individual chooses to get, it offers better protection than no protection at all.

Against a killer, you'd want the best weapon possible, right? The best weapon against COVID-19 is a vaccine.

Fourteen diseases have been nearly eliminated from the United States population since the introduction of their respective vaccines and the public's immunization requirements for them. Polio, a disease which left its victims crippled or dead, has been eliminated from the United States population since 1979 as a result of vaccination. Smallpox, a disease that killed 35% of its victims, was eradicated from the global population in 1980 as a result of worldwide vaccination. Other vaccine-preventable diseases such as chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, and so many more, have been greatly reduced since vaccine development and mandatory requirements.

The COVID-19 virus could potentially become eradicated as well, if mandatory vaccination were to be put into effect. Vaccines have been mandatory for entry into the school systems and other public sectors for years; why is the COVID-19 vaccine viewed so differently?

Mandatory COVID vaccinations are already beginning to be required in many places across the nation. Healthcare workers at many facilities are required to get the COVID-19 vaccination or they risk losing their job. This mandate is not in place solely for the health of the staff, but for the patients as well. If an unvaccinated staff member were to walk into a patient's room after having been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, that patient and every other patient that staff member sees during their shift is exposed.  This exposure happens whether the patients have chosen to get vaccinated or not.  Healthcare workers are taught to do no harm to their patients, yet by choosing not to get vaccinated, they put patients at direct risk for sickness and death.

These types of exposures happen daily both inside and outside of healthcare facilities every time an individual decides not to get vaccinated. Remaining unvaccinated is an irresponsible, selfish and dangerous decision that puts everyone at risk. Every single person needs to be vaccinated in order to reduce the spread of this virus, prevent deaths, and to help our country return to normal again. Together, we can fight this killer virus by getting vaccinated.

Adelina Jakuba is an APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) student at the University of Connecticut.



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