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Should There Be a Federal Mandate on COVID-19 Vaccine?

By Alexa Marks '22

Upper Dublin High School

Across the globe, COVID-19 has affected 93.8 million people, killing 2.0 million. In all, there have been 23.6 million cases, and the virus has killed over 400,000 people. Currently, there are two vaccines in the United States: Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech as reported by NBC News. In consonance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 5.9 million people in the United States have received a dose of one of the two authorized COVID-19 vaccines. Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about setting a federal mandate for the COVID-19 vaccine. As of now, healthcare workers, politicians, elderly people, and a small number of teachers have been vaccinated. Granted, there should not be a federal mandate on the COVID-19 vaccination for every citizen in the United States.

As of now, there are not simply not enough COVID-19 vaccines for the entire public, its distribution to those registered has been moving slowly due to the lack of the treatment.

A federal mandate on the COVID-19 vaccine might also spark more riots, unrest, and a further divide throughout the country.

In 1902 the smallpox outbreak in Cambridge, Massachusetts resulted in an enforced mandate on the smallpox vaccine. However, one resident of Cambridge presented a case to the U.S. Supreme Court later in 1905, “Jacobson v. Massachusetts.” Jacobson, for several reasons, objected to the vaccination mandate and brought about a lawsuit to Massachusetts, raising several arguments such as his point that his constitutionally protected liberty interests was a source of conflict with the mandate.

There should not be a federal mandate on the vaccine for every citizen, but rather, for certain groups of people including healthcare workers, the elderly, high-risk citizens, teachers, etc. If the federal mandate is limited to certain groups of people, it can save U.S taxpayers a significant amount of money because the vaccination will only be mandatory to provide for certain individuals, rather than 328.2 million people at the same time.

In many ways, COVID-19 has woven its way into the lives of every human being. Most will agree that the pandemic has burned the nation, and world, with tremendous heartbreak. There is significant hope and potential for the COVID-19 vaccination in hopes it can lift us up and out of this darkness. But, also, the vaccine is extremely essential for our health care workers, the elderly, and our high-risk friends and family. In hopes to help tighten the divide and tension in the nation, and help decrease the nation’s expenses and resources, the federal mandate on the COVID-19 vaccine should only be for certain groups of individuals.

Works Cited

Brothers, Will. “A Timeline of COVID-19 Vaccine Development.” BioSpace, 3 December 2020, Accessed 16 January 2021.

Edwards, Erica. “In push to get more vaccines into arms, officials recommend states give to anyone 65 and up.” NBC News, 12 January 2021, Accessed 15 January 2021.

Harcourt J, Tamin, Lu X, Kami S, Sakthivel SK, Murray J, et al. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 from Patient with Coronavirus Disease, United States. Emerg Infect Dis. March 11, 2020. Accessed 15 January 2021.

Rosen, Joanne. “Can COVID-19 Vaccines Be Mandatory in the U.S. and Who Decides?” Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 17, November 2020, Accessed 25 January 2021.

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