AU Vaccine Mandate: Student Perspective


Preparation of Covid-19 vaccination

Jahna Waters, Editor

As more and more of the public are receiving the Covid-19 vaccination, students express a range of strong opinions on the mandate implemented at Averett University. 

The debate of whether mandating the vaccination is right is a hot topic among students on campus. Some students feel that not having the choice is unethical and an infringement of their rights, while some feel it is necessary for safety reasons.

“I feel like it violates our choices as individuals,”  sophomore Allison Setliff said. “I don’t like the fact I am being forced to take an injection I do not want in regard to my own personal health choices.”

Some students feel that the vaccination is just as much of a risk as a safety precaution.

“Vaccinated people are getting Covid and spreading it to other people, so what is the incentive to get the vaccine if there’s barely any science behind it,” sophomore Ian McGlamery said.

Although the CDC describes potential serious side effects from the vaccine as rare, some students worry about the possible side effects.

“It makes me scared to have it or for my friends to have it due to lack of knowledge of the vaccine especially with all possible side effects and health complications being reported after receiving the vaccine,” Setliff said.

On the other hand, some students believe that mandating the vaccination is very beneficial for the health of students, faculty, and staff.

“I feel it’s important especially since the FDA has recently approved it,” senior Kathryn Gay said. “I think it would allow us, students, to go back to a somewhat normal learning environment and would allow students to go back to enjoying life as a college kid.”

More than half of the student population has already been vaccinated and some hope others will follow.

“Personally, I feel that having the vaccine mandated on campus is a good thing,” Kris Richmond, a senior, said. “I got the vaccine last year and I feel like for everyone’s safety during these times getting the vaccine is very important.”

The timing of the announcement is another contributing factor to the controversial debate among students on campus. The campus community was informed on Sept. 2 that they would be required to either be vaccinated or be subject to mandatory weekly COVID testing with the first test result due Sept. 22. The timing of the announcement corresponded to the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine for those who are 16 or older.

“If the school wanted to make the vaccine mandatory, it should have been announced before the students came back to school,” Jackson Nicholson, a freshman, said.  “It isn’t fair to throw this on us mid-semester.” 

Setliff agrees that she and other students should have been given more notice and time to decide.

“We students should have had all of the summer to think about how we wanted to go about this, whether it be transferring online, or the ability to conduct more research on the vaccine ourselves as other schools did,” she said.

Students who are opposed to receiving the vaccination are actively seeking out religious and medical exemptions and are getting tested weekly. Some students are attempting to stand against the mandate with petitions and meetings with the dean. Those who support the mandate are unaffected due to their beliefs but argue that their safety is in jeopardy in the presence of unvaccinated students.

Regardless of student opinions, vaccinated students must have proof of their vaccination in the LiveSafe application and unvaccinated students must submit tests weekly to avoid repercussions. Students must either be vaccinated or have an approved exemption to be able to return to Averett in the spring.