On Tuesday, August 23, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine, making it the first Covid-19 vaccine to be approved and FDA tested. And as of this morning, due to a state-wide mandate, Millikin has mandated the vaccine. Mandating the vaccine will help to ensure the campus is not a super spreader and furthermore prevent us from going remote for an unknown period of time. It is within Millikin’s power to do this, and Millikin’s right.
In 1905, the Supreme Court decided in Jacobson v. Massachusetts that the state of Massachusetts can use their power to enforce the smallpox vaccine. Millikin enforcing a vaccine mandate for students on campus is constitutional, and they wouldn’t be the first school to enforce this mandate.
Indiana University is mandating their students to get the Covid vaccine or face the consequences. Some students were outraged at this right the University has and attempted to take it up to the Supreme Court and argue that the university enforcing the Covid vaccine goes against their constitutional rights. This case was shot down by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who didn’t even take the case into consideration, proving that a university can legally mandate the vaccine for its students.
I would understand the fear of possibly being forced to get a vaccine that is not government approved, but now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the FDA, the fears should be subsided and if you have already met the required vaccines Millikin mandates–that are approved by the FDA–why should the Covid vaccine be any different? I do understand the limitation put on some who cannot be vaccinated, as Millikin does as well.
We as students are mandated to show proof of vaccination for differing diseases (i.e. mumps, tetanus, measles) and within those requirements there is also a list of reasons as to why someone wouldn’t be vaccinated. If you are older than 63, have a medical condition, or a vaccine would go against your religious beliefs, you are not mandated to show proof of those vaccines. Not everyone fits in that list, but if you do you must show proof of how a vaccine will not be compliant with your physical/mental health.
The Covid-19 vaccine should not be any different. That is why along with the vaccination mandate, Millikin has provided an alternative safeguard for those who cannot be vaccinated or for those refuse the vaccine, the alternative being a mandatory weekly Covid-19 test from the on-campus testing sight. Regardless, Millikin is strongly encouraging students and faculty to get the vaccine, as they should, and have even added an additional vaccination clinic on September 3rd from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the University Commons.