November 30, 2023

How students feel about Capital’s vaccine mandate

In a recent announcement, Capital University revealed their decision to require all students, staff, and faculty to receive a full COVID-19 vaccination sequence before Dec. 17, 2021.

The growing number of COVID cases and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant played a large role in Capital’s decision to mandate vaccines. 

The University states the decision was made with guidance from Franklin County Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the University’s COVID Response Team. The FDA’s final approval of the Pfizer vaccine was also taken into consideration. 

Students can apply for a medical or religious exemption which will be approved on a case by case basis, but an exemption being granted is not guaranteed. 

When it comes to decisions like this, there’s bound to be polarization between students, staff, parents, and alumni. While some of the Capital community is celebrating, others are looking to transfer. 

With such a big decision being made that affects the whole Capital community, how are students feeling about the vaccine mandate?

According to a poll run on the Chimes’ Instagram account, of those who voted, 81% agreed with Capital’s decision to mandate COVID vaccines, and 19% disagreed. 

Vaccine Mandate Poll Results. Screenshot taken by The Chimes.

Among those who agree with Capital’s decision to mandate vaccines is fourth-year Film and Media production major, Jordan Willis. 

“I think it’s simply just in the best interest of public health,” Willis said. “I was honestly very anxious coming back to school without the vaccine mandate and I feel a little bit safer now… A lot of in-person classes and in-person events have started back up—I feel like it’s just safer for everybody as a whole.”

Third-year Communications major, Armani Dortch, is supportive of the vaccine mandate as well. 

“People around campus are tired of the online learning and the not knowing whether we’re going to be in-person or have to go home and things like that,” Dortch explained. “I just feel like with people having to get vaccinated it’s more promising that things will start to look hopeful and we’ll actually be able to experience real college.”

Third-year student Armani Dortch stands behind Capital’s decision to mandate COVID vaccines. Photo submitted by Armani Dortch.

Second-year Psychology and Sociology major, Naysa Dunlap, feels similarly and shares her own experience with COVID. 

 “I’ve had friends lose family members, I’ve lost family members to this stuff, it’s no joke. So anything you can do to keep others safe, I feel like we should do,” Dunlap said. “I understand that for some people their bodies might not react good to the vaccine and I feel like they should be excluded… as for everyone else that’s physically well and can do it, why not?” 

A large majority of students I talked to who disagree with the vaccine mandate were not comfortable publicly stating their opinion due to fear of judgement or repercussions from the University, such as their vaccine exemption application being denied. 

Michael Allen, a second-year Political Science major, was willing to discuss why he disagrees with Capital’s vaccine mandate. 

“My position on, you know, mandating vaccines is I don’t believe it should be done anywhere, whether it’d be private businesses forcing their employees to get it or educational institutions forcing their students and faculty to receive the vaccine,” Allen said, “because of, well, mostly just because of the implications that it sets. A vaccine, even though it’s not surgery, is a medical procedure and it sets a very dangerous precedent for governments, businesses, and in general just everyday people on the street trying to force other people to have a medical procedure done on them, essentially against their will.”

On the same page as Michael Allen is third-year Criminology major Joshua Zweydorff, who is all for personal freedoms and people doing as they see fit for themselves. 

Third-year student Joshua Zweydorff explains why he is against Capital’s vaccine mandate. Photo submitted by Joshua Zweydorff.

“The mandate of anything really, especially a largely untested medical procedure is directly against that freedom that we should hold so dearly here in the United States,” Zweydorff stated. “I said largely untested and I know a lot of people would probably disagree with me but… there are other vaccines that are much more effective as we’ve seen that take dozens of years to create, and with many more dozens of years of studying the effects after it’s been utilized… The COVID vaccine has been around about a year at most and you know they say we’re supposed to trust it as gospel, you know I kind of have a problem with that but it is what it is.”

While opinions may vary, Capital’s vaccine mandate will officially go into effect Dec. 17. For more information on Capital’s policy, students can click here.


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