Potential vaccine mandate stirs discussion

David Raymond, Staff Reporter

Over a year ago Sequoia, and many other schools around the nation, closed their doors. This fall Sequoia opened fully in person for the first time since March 2020, but, with the new delta variant, COVID-19 seems to be mounting a comeback that could shut down schools once more.

On October 1st, 2021 California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he will implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students in California once the vaccine is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for minors. “The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps, and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19,” said Newsom. 

Tyler Wilson, a freshman at Sequoia had an interview about the COVID-19 vaccine and a potential vaccine mandate at Sequoia. During the interview he stated that he was unvaccinated for COVID-19, but that he would be open to receiving the vaccine in the future.

Wilson has not been vaccinated because he sees the COVID-19 vaccine as a risk reward equation. He is weighing the risk of the covid vaccine in comparison to COVID-19, and right now he sees the vaccine as a bigger risk then COVID-19 itself. “When covid killed 150 kids in 2020 the flu actually killed 450,” said Wilson. “I’ve had the flu and I don’t see it to be that bad.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 killed 377,883 Americans in 2020 alone. The CDC also states that the COVID-19 vaccine can prevent you from getting and spreading COVID-19. So even if you are not deemed to be at high risk for COVID-19, getting the vaccine can help protect those in your community.

Right now the main concern for many unvaccinated Americans, including Wilson is the long term effects of the vaccine. “It was created in like a year, right and it usually takes longer than that for other vaccines,” said Wilson. The CDC claims, “COVID-19 vaccines have been rapidly developed and distributed to help fight the pandemic. During this process, all steps have been taken to ensure their safety and effectiveness.” As for the side effects of the vaccine the CDC also states that “serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination.” There are some possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, including swelling at the sight of vaccination, fever, headache tiredness, muscle aches and nausea. These side effects are similar to other vaccines and should wear off as soon as 12 hours after vaccination.

Newsom’s proposed vaccine mandate won’t come until a COVID-19 vaccine is fully approved for minors. “Based on current information, the requirement is expected to apply to grades 7-12 starting on July 1, 2022,” stated the office of governor Newsom. “However, local health jurisdictions and local education agencies are encouraged to implement requirements ahead of a statewide requirement based on their local circumstances.” 

Newsom implies that he is heavily encouraging local lawmakers at the county, city, and district level to employ their own vaccine.

Kristen Coronado, Sequoia Union High School District Nurse, believes the vaccine mandate could happen at Sequoia Union High School District. 

Coronado had high praise for Newsom’s vaccine mandate proposal. 

“I think it’s smart and wise for him to do,” said Coronado.

Somes school districts in California have made the decision to require a COVID-19 vaccine for eligible students, such as Los Angeles and Oakland.

Students at Sequoia have varying opinions about a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, “I think a mandate is important to keep people safe, I think it’s important to think of those around you,” junior Gigi Odom said.

Coronado shared similar thoughts. “We have mandated vaccines all the time for students, if they don’t want to come to school they have the option to do homeschooling.” 

Unvaccinated students have a much different perspective on this issue. “I would probably protest,” said Wilson, who is against a vaccine mandate. “You know I’d probably be staying home at that rate.”