Students respond to fall vaccine requirement

Sean Bessette, Assistant News Editor

Following CWU’s announcement mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for fall 2021 quarter, students took to social media to share their feedback.

On CWU’s Instagram post regarding the mandate, over 750 comments were made, making it their most interacted post this school year by far.

The feedback was fairly split, with students sharing their opinions for and against the vaccine mandate.

In favor of the vaccine requirement

Senior public health major Joanna Ortiz believes the vaccination mandate is necessary.

“I believe if we want things to go back to normal, this is the only available approach,” Ortiz said.

The social distancing and mask wearing requirements have gone on for too long and not a lot of students follow the guidelines anymore, according to Ortiz.

She said this is the only way to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone.

“We have to adapt to this pandemic, and this is our best option,” Ortiz said.

Sophomore Sierra Straub said she is thankful for CWU’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

Straub said a lot of the community in Ellensburg is high risk due to age and that it’s important for students to be protected as well.

“By requiring a fully vaccinated campus, CWU is able to protect the local community and students who are exempt for the right reasons,” Straub said.

Straub is fully vaccinated and said it’s been “wonderful” to get back together safely with others.

She was in a biomedical program throughout high school and spent an entire year studying different types of vaccines and how they work.

Freshman Mae Myklegard supports CWU’s decision to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for fall 2021.

Myklegard chose to do school completely online because of the pandemic.

“I will feel a lot better about moving on campus knowing everyone is vaccinated,” Myklegard said.

Against the vaccine requirement

Jenson Ellars, junior business administration major with a specialization in finance, finds the vaccine requirement to be unnecessary. He said he’s not against the vaccine but he said it should not be a mandate.

“I do find that a vaccine that has only been out for a few months, without FDA approval, should not be required for students,” Ellars said.

President James Gaudino said FDA approval is a “key factor” in the university’s consideration of a vaccine mandate in his initial announcement.

On May 7, Pfizer-BioNTech started their application to request full approval by the FDA for their COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are expected to submit similar requests before too long, according to ABC News.

The process for full approval is more rigorous than the process to receive emergency use authorization, and it is expected the FDA will take several weeks to review Pfizer-BioNTech’s application, according to NBC News.

“On top of the risks, I see that many people have personal, medical and religious reasons as to why they would not consent to taking the vaccine,” Ellars said. “Many schools have agreed to push for students taking the vaccine which is fine, but they have allowed there to be options.”

In CWU’s initial announcement, nothing was said about exceptions for medical, religious or other personal reasons unlike other universities, such as the University of Washington and Washington State University, who have announced similar mandates but included information about exceptions.

“This whole situation I feel makes a divide in the school between the right and left,” Ellars said. “I also feel that this decision has put some students at social disadvantages due to people arguing amongst each other, going as far as students telling other students, ‘If you don’t like the vaccine, then we don’t want you here.’”

Junior business major Ridge Moss doesn’t think anyone should have to be vaccinated to be on campus.

For Moss, it’s not whether someone should or shouldn’t get the vaccine, but it’s more about a mandate forcing the vaccinations.

“I think that will lead to lots of people telling the college they can’t get the vaccine for personal or religious reasons to bypass that rule,” Moss said.

Moss also questioned what’ll change because of the mandate. He’s unsure if masks and daily health checks will still be required.

“Everyone wants the world to go back to normal and this might be a step in that direction if all those rules are lifted,” Moss said. “But if we still have to wear masks and all that, then why do I need a vaccine?”

Moss also said that this announcement seems late and he doesn’t know what his plan for next year is.

“What if people want to transfer schools because of this rule?” Moss said. “Now they have three to four months to transfer credits, find a place to stay and move everything to their new place if that’s what they choose.”