[Editorial] Don’t get vaccinated if you don’t want to

Johannes Becht, News Editor

It’s pretty simple: The vaccine works. In most cases, it prevents you from severe consequences of COVID-19. Those who still die from the virus are mostly not vaccinated.

After a year of wearing masks in order to take care of each other and slow the spread of COVID-19, in order to try to protect our most vulnerable members of society such as the elderly or people with weak immune systems, we are finally at a point where we have the ability to protect ourselves by choosing to either get the vaccine, wear a mask or socially distance. We don’t have to protect others anymore, because most people can protect themselves. That’s why we don’t have a mask mandate anymore.

Even if you get the vaccine, you still can get COVID-19. The vaccine was never about stopping COVID. It was about stopping the hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID. And it works. Death rates across the nation don’t keep up with case numbers like in the past (see charts).

Case numbers in the US.

Death rate in the US.

The effectiveness of the vaccine has led leaders across the nation to implement vaccine mandates. The University of Michigan requires all students, faculty and staff (even those working or learning remotely) to get vaccinated.

Needless to say that the SWOSU administration would never even try to implement such a vaccine mandate in one of the most conservative states in the USA. So they try to give incentives. $100 for every vaccinated student, $125 for every vaccinated faculty member. Considering the fact that SWOSU has thousands of students, we might talk about $500,000 that the administration is willing to spend to boost vaccination rates.

Imagine a virus that is so dangerous that SWOSU has to spend half a million dollars to make students get the vaccine.

After months of politicians, public health experts, businesses and the media bombarding us with “Get vaccinated” messages, people have made up their mind. They either want to get vaccinated, or they don’t. And that’s their choice. I got my shot in February. I have no reasons to regret it. I respect everybody’s decision to get the vaccine – or not to get it. But to be honest, I somehow respect people’s decision not to get the vaccine even more – because they are able to resist all the pressure around them.

Sure, the $100 “award” by SWOSU will make some students get the vaccine. But is it worth it? Shouldn’t we use those $500,000 to make campus life better? Buying better chairs for classrooms to replace cheap plastic chairs? Modernizing Wifi? Improving food quality in the cafeteria? Renovating the basement of the Old Science Building, or the Art Building? And what about certain dormitories that smell like urine on move-in day? No, the SWOSU administration has decided to use that money to have a few more vaccinated students. Could it save lives? Maybe, but it is very unlikely. Death rates among young people are very low.

As mentioned before, the vaccine doesn’t prevent you from getting COVID. No matter if we have a 80% or a 50% vaccination rate, there will be a spread of coronavirus cases on campus within the next few weeks. It’s already happening. Rumors talk about 16 football players being tested positive. No money in the world can change that. We have to learn to live with the virus. And we have to make a personal choice to either get the vaccine or not – without being influenced by microchip theories or a $100 “award.” It’s your body, and it’s your choice.