Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

If Miami wants to proceed with Love and Honor, it must mandate vaccines

The following reflects the majority opinion of The Miami Student’s Editorial Board. 

Based on the FDA’s recent full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, this editorial has been updated from it’s initial print version to reflect the editorial board’s opinion that a university-wide vaccine mandate is necessary.

Ohio State announced Tuesday afternoon that it will be mandating vaccines for all staff, faculty and students. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been fully Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for more than 24 hours, and despite Miami’s COVID-19 website stating the university would be prepared to mandate vaccination once it achieved this status, officials have been silent.

Miami University is no longer bound by a state law prohibiting the requirement of vaccination against COVID-19. The Miami Student Editorial Board believes the university has a responsibility to use every tool in its arsenal to raise vaccination rates and combat misinformation that is running rampant within our community. 

That means mandating vaccines for all staff, faculty and students within the Miami community. 

The vaccine is safe. Trusted medical sources such as the FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The World Health Organization (WHO) have said so. 

Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history, according to the CDC. 

All vaccines currently available for emergency use approval by the FDA have undergone rigorous testing. Both the Moderna and Johson & Johsnon vaccines are anticipated to soon join Pfizer with full FDA approval.

These are things we know, but some are having a hard time believing. 

As a university with thousands of students located inside a county with an above 18% vaccine hesitancy rate and only 49.3% of its residents vaccinated, Miami has a responsibility to help in any way it can. 

At The Student, we appreciate the university-wide emails providing information on the COVID-19 vaccines’ efficacy and community resources to learn more about where and how to get vaccinated.  

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While talking about the safety and importance of the vaccine is admirable, it’s time for action.  

This virus has claimed over four million lives over the last 20 months. 

Families have suffered, people have gotten sick, and our world is still not back to normal. 

It’s easy to think that Miami is an inherently “low risk” community because the student body is young. But believing that narrative requires looking at our community through a narrow and convenient lens. 

The professors and staff that work at our university and live in our town range from young to old. They are a present and valuable part of our community, and they are more at risk. 

Oxford is not just the student body. 

Oxford is the parents who raise their children here. The employees who work at your favorite Uptown shop. The older couple you pass in the Kroger aisles who can’t remember the last time they’ve seen their grandkids. 

Our community members have roots here and should feel safe and supported by the students who call this town home for four years. 

We need to think outside of ourselves. The excuses for not getting the vaccine are often rooted in fear and misinformation. 

If you’re worried about the long term effects of the vaccine, we ask you to ponder the long term effects of a COVID-19 diagnosis. 

If you trust the comment section of Facebook posts, we ask that you instead turn to the advice of licensed medical professionals who are tasked with keeping communities safe and healthy. 

We acknowledge and fully respect religious and medical exemptions to the vaccine. But the political game of self righteousness and promoting individual freedom over the health of our community must end. 

We can help our community get stronger and do our part in ending this pandemic. 

Don’t think about the luckiest and healthiest among us. The longer we stick to convenient beliefs that keep us from doing the right thing, the harder it will be for us all to recover. 

If Miami wants to proceed with Love and Honor, it must mandate vaccines.