Abby Wolf staff writer
Despite the safety of vaccines and their scientifically proven ability to significantly slow, if not stop, the rampant spread of diseases, many still distrust inoculations due to propaganda and misinformation.
For example, during the time for public comment during a budget hearing for Governor Gavin Newsom’s plans for next year’s spending, people with anti-vaccination beliefs went as far as to threaten government officials with deadly force if they require vaccinations in California.
The time of debating vaccinations is long past. Our country is facing a two-pronged crisis: the health and safety of American citizens and the educational and emotional impact of students staying at home.
Although requiring vaccinations is a controversial decision, California has set a precedent in the past in making vaccinations mandatory.
In early 2016 after a Measles outbreak throughout California, the state reversed the policy that allowed for vaccine exemptions based on one’s personal beliefs. As more people were vaccinated due to this California law, the Measles cases dramatically decreased.
Currently, L.A. County sees about 2,000 new Coronavirus cases weekly. If students return to school without vaccinations, our community risks another outbreak, infecting students, teachers and family members.
A lack of vaccinations when students finally return back to school risks another outbreak, sending students back home, which is a detriment to mental health.
A poll in response to student mental health during the pandemic by The Harris Poll shows that “55% of teens say they’ve experienced anxiety, 45% excessive stress, and 43% depression” and “61% of teens said that COVID-19 pandemic has increased their feeling of loneliness.”
The only way to stop these pandemic-induced mental health risks is to get students back in classrooms, and the only way to do this safely is through mandatory vaccinations.
Outbreaks will likely occur if schools reopen without mandating a vaccination requirement. This issue does not only affect students: it affects teachers and other school staffers, as well as their families. It is time we stop thinking only about ourselves, but think about the impact not getting vaccinated will do to students, teachers and our community as a whole. Our district needs to mandate vaccinations for students returning to school in order to safeguard our community.