Illustrated By: Ajita Kanthathasan

Throughout history, humans have always faced plights of sickness. The Bubonic Plague, Smallpox, Polio—all of which have seen millions of deaths across the world. In past cases, humanity had to suffer and endure the havoc of disease, but in recent decades we have been graced and protected by a feat of modern medicine: vaccines. 

No more would millions of people have to die from the wrath of plagues and pandemics. No more would society be crippled and dismantled by the devastating casualties brought upon us by disease. No more would the diseases of the past, that have haunted humans for centuries, take lives within society. Now, we are once again faced with a disease that has taken the lives of millions of people worldwide, but suddenly the very technology that has saved humanity countless times in history is shunned by a sizable portion of our population. 

We see in our media the voices of conservative and skeptic figures who discredit and slander the credibility of our vaccines and medicine for the sake of “personal freedom” and “safety”, but none of these claims are based on any sort of truth and lack basic forethought. What has been spouted by many media figures and politicians through this pandemic haven’t been facts. They have been harmful and malicious lies that have fooled and deceived many within our society.

The COVID-19 vaccine is undoubtedly one of the safest and most effective vaccines in medical history, and any sort of rejection of this notion is unfounded, which I will prove today. The pandemic has already taken the lives of too many within the world, and the only true way to prevent and minimize the harm this illness has brought to the world is through the efforts of vaccination. At some point, the misinformation that has infested our society can no longer be tolerated. At this point, a vaccine mandate is the only true way to save lives and aid in a return to normalcy within our society. Although controversial as a policy, those who reject it simply do not understand or are misinformed on what a mandate would impose, which is what I would like to explain within this article.

Now the first important question, before even determining whether the COVID vaccine should be mandated, is whether or not these vaccines are safe and efficient for human consumption, and the answer to that question is an undeniable, “Yes.” 

Peer-reviewed studies around the world along with institutional trials by every major country have all reached the same conclusion, the vaccine is not only very safe, but also very effective at combating COVID-19. The Pfizer and Biotech vaccine, for one, is roughly 95% effective against the virus and has shown very few cases in which people have been directly harmed by the vaccine. Even in these cases, there is no reason to be scared of such side effects, as what could potentially happen to you is so unlikely that it is unreasonable to even consider it. With those odds, you may as well never walk because you could slip or fall, or never eat because you may choke and suffocate. 

Everyone, excluding those who have been suggested otherwise by medical professionals, has no reason to not take a COVID-19 vaccine due to the unprecedented and extreme amount of supervision, analysis, and regulation implemented by the countries of the world.

Furthermore, there is no reason to be against such a vaccine mandate as many vaccines are already mandated across the world. In our school systems, we force children to get vaccinated against many viruses in the interest of keeping kids safe. What difference does one more vaccine make? Most sensible citizens are aware of how safe and effective all these vaccines are, but in reality, many are torn on whether or not vaccination is serious enough of a matter to mandate them for all able recipients. But if you dig deeper, this hesitancy about more extreme policies is simply based on irrationalities that have been spouted by conservative media.

Many may say that such a mandate would be a violation of personal freedom and bodily autonomy, but such a view is simply selfish. Sure, you should have a decision on what you do with your body, but not when you are endangering others around you. Studies from the University of Oxford have shown that those who are vaccinated are less likely to transmit COVID-19, and so when you are walking around unvaccinated, you are increasing the chance of those around you contracting COVID-19, some of whom may have autoimmune diseases that make such a virus possibly deadly.

You may have the right to bodily autonomy, but what trumps that is the right to safety and health, and the right that citizens have to be able to walk on the streets their money has paved without fear of falling ill. Sure, a mandate may limit your freedom in some areas, but it is in place to restore the right for people to live in a safe and functional society.

Now, why is such a mandate even necessary? Many may think that those who are vaccinated are protected and those who aren’t are simply taking their own risk, but many fail to mention how this affects the underrepresented, those who are unable to take the vaccine because of health conditions.

There are millions of people across the world who are unable to take the vaccine due to previous health conditions or because of their age. Is it fair to endanger these groups of people and thrust a serious and sometimes debilitating virus at them? No, and that is where the concept of herd immunity comes into play.

Currently, the percentage of Canadians vaccinated for COVID-19 is nowhere close to the threshold necessary for herd immunity. What is herd immunity? Well, herd immunity is when the population of vaccinated people is large enough to the point where the unvaccinated population is unable or incredibly unlikely to contract a virus. With COVID-19, this would allow people who are sensitive to the virus the ability to continue a normal life again and live without fear of contracting the virus. Whether it’s someone’s grandmother or their relative with a rare illness, everyone knows someone who is especially prone to this virus and in the interests of everyone around us, it is important to reach the threshold of herd immunity to keep people safe.

It has come to the point in the pandemic at which something has to change and more drastic measures have to be taken. For the sake of everyone in our society and in the interests of moving past this stage in a time dominated by COVID-19, a vaccine mandate must be enacted. No more should people have to suffer and lose their lives due to the virus when the solution is right in front of our eyes. In the interests of people, in the interests of the economy, and the interests of the nation as a whole, a vaccine mandate is necessary to preserve the health of our nation.