The COVID-19 vaccine should not be mandatory

By: Nicholas Ratcliff

Multimedia Journalist

The COVID-19 vaccination has been the source of controversy since the first shot was given on Dec. 11, 2020. Since then, 382 million doses have been given to the American public, with over 180 million Americans fully vaccinated.

Yet even with 54.7 percent of the American population vaccinated, the controversy has remained and divided the United States, and essentially the world, into two groups. Those who support the vaccination and those who do not.

At first, this disagreement was allowed by our federal government who hoped that enough of the population would be willing to get the vaccine to slow the spread of COVID. As our vaccination rates have declined due to a lack of interest in getting the vaccine, however, the United States has fallen behind the other country’s vaccination rates.

To put this in perspective, as stated above the United States has vaccinated 54 percent of the population or a little over half. Britain has vaccinated 69 percent of its population, with Canada only slightly behind at 65 percent. To top this off, even countries like Japan, which only had 18 percent of their population vaccinated at the start of the Olympics, have now managed to get over 60 percent of their population vaccinated with the first shot.

As America keeps slowly falling behind the other countries, our federal government is becoming increasingly worried about how they are going to control this pandemic. Even though the Biden Administration had stated that a vaccination mandate would not be required by the public, they have recently proposed a mandate that would require vaccination to a large percentage of the population.

This mandate would apply to anyone working for the federal government, as well as anyone working for a company with 100 or more employees. Now according to economists, there are over 100 million Americans who would fall in this category, essentially meaning that if passed, this mandate would apply to all 100 million.

Out of this 100 million, a little over 25 million of them have not been vaccinated and are about to be forced to get vaccinated by the federal government. I believe that even though vaccination has been medically proven to be safe, that this is still direct overstep by the federal government.

In 1905 the Supreme Court heard the case of Jacobson V. Massachusetts where Jacobs was trying to claim that a state-mandated vaccination was against his constitutional rights. At the time the state was trying to slow the spread of small pocks and stated they had the right to mandate the vaccination in order to protect their citizens.

While the court did rule in favor of the state, they also weighed in on the federal government’s power to make the same mandate. They stated that while it was within a state’s right to protect its citizens by mandating a vaccination, it was not within the federal government’s right to dictate if a state required it.

While there is no debate that COVID-19 is spreading between the states, the question is what can the federal government do to stop it. Since it is spreading, they have the ability to do something, but the current mandate they have proposed would override a state’s ability to make that call for themselves.

An example of how this overrides the state can be found by looking at Texas. Texas has passed a law that bans vaccine mandates, stating that the state will not require its population to get vaccinated; however, the mandate proposed would force any company in Texas with over 100 employees to get the vaccination regardless of the fact that Texas doesn’t require it.

This is clearly an example of the federal government overriding the decision that the Texas government made about the vaccination. This directly contradicts the supreme court’s ruling on this issue which stated that the federal government can not dictate what a state does about vaccinations.

While I do not buy into the conspiracy theories surrounding the COVID-19 vaccination, I believe it is our right as Americans to determine for ourselves what we put into our bodies. Even though I believe the vaccination is safe, I think it would set a dangerous precedent if we allow the federal government to dictate what we put into our bodies.

If a state wanted to mandate the vaccination, they have the constitutional right to do so, just like a citizen who disagrees with that decision has the right to move out of that state. If the federal government mandates this, however, then private citizens would not be able to move and would be forced to get the vaccination.

It is for this same reason, that I believe it is within a company’s right to mandate the vaccination if they choose. We as Americans get to choose who we work for and if your company requires the vaccine and you disagree, then you can quit.

Essentially, even though I fully encourage everybody to get the vaccination who feels safe getting it, I would never want to force any American to do something that they feel is unsafe. It is our right as free citizens of this country to determine for ourselves what we do with our bodies

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