Opinion: CESJDS should not mandate the COVID-19 vaccine

Benny Hasenberg , Reporter

As JDS students prepared to return to in-person learning, the school required that every student received a flu shot before returning to campus. Now, the teachers will be required to be vaccinated as soon as possible. 

If they receive the vaccine only because they were required to by their school, JDS could be morally responsible for possible long term health effects in the future. Is it fair to require this vaccine, even if there is still so much unknown? I say no. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that two of the first people to receive the vaccine have had allergic reactions and experienced side effects. One woman from London had a 104.5 degree fever and experienced intense pain, nausea and dizziness. While these side effects are dangerous, they are not the most prominent concern of the people receiving the vaccine.

The more pressing issue is the potential of long term negative effects of the vaccine. Because the COVID-19 vaccine was developed as quickly as possible, it has not been around long enough for scientists to be able to detect possible negative long-term side effects.

According to the Yale School of Medicine, it is ideal to develop a vaccine for up to ten years before making it available to the public. The COVID-19 vaccines were rushed because of the urgency of the situation and were made available to British citizens in less than ten months. 

Members of the JDS community may be very nervous about these unknown possibilities. A recent Harris Poll showed that only 54% of Americans are currently planning on getting the vaccine if given the opportunity and that 79% of people are worried about the vaccine’s safety. With so much uncertainty surrounding this vaccine, it is impossible to say whether the benefits outweigh the risks. 

The students have a right to make the decision for themselves. Many people throughout the country are considering whether the vaccine is safe or not, and JDS students should be no different. Especially with young people, the long term effects are extremely scary. In fact, only 58% of parents are planning on having their child vaccinated, once given the opportunity according to a Harris Poll.

Because people have just begun receiving the vaccine, it is impossible for professionals to identify any side effects that would occur after receiving it. It is possible that years from now, people who received the vaccine in 2020 will experience life changing side effects.

In 2017, girls in Ireland who received the HPV vaccine experienced complex regional pain syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome years after receiving the vaccine, according to The Lancet. These girls had received the HPV vaccine at their own discretion. If a similar situation were to occur among JDS students who had been required to receive the vaccine to return to in-person learning, JDS would be responsible for their students experiencing these conditions later in life. 

JDS staff and students should be given the right to choose whether to receive the vaccine for their own safety, or the school may be held responsible for any negative effects the vaccine has on the students.