Michigan State University announced that it will not make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for students, faculty or staff this fall which has produced polarizing opinions from the MSU community.
Michigan State alumna Janice Daverman said she disagrees with the university's decision to not require the vaccine next semester. She said that keeping COVID-19 cases low is very important for students to gain the social interaction needed to learn at MSU.
“We are not at herd immunity in Michigan and especially I'm sure on campus,” Daverman said.
Daverman said she is also concerned with new variants of COVID-19 making its way through MSU.
“I think they are taking chances by not asking people to be vaccinated,” Daverman said.
Daverman is disappointed with MSU’s decision, and is concerned about ulterior motives that may have influenced the decision.
“I think that people who are voting against mandatory are just (complacent) with spreading COVID,” Daverman said. “Young adults party and are in close quarters, and if they aren’t vaccinated, it’s going to spread.”
Daverman also said she is fearful that MSU will shut down like last year if students, faculty and staff are not getting vaccinated. If cases rise in Michigan, Daverman is concerned MSU will have to suffer another year where students are learning online.
“I have a feeling that if the Delta coronavirus (variant) is going to spread, that they are going to have to make some decisions on hybrid learning,” Daverman said.
On the other hand, Michigan State alumnus Gregg Kurasz is pleased with MSU’s decision and believes that the freedom of students, faculty and staff is more important than mandating the COVID-19 vaccine.
Contrary to Daverman, Kurasz believes that MSU needs to focus more on the education of students, rather than focus on vaccination requirements.
“I really feel it’s stretching it when you're forcing people to get medicine,” Kurasz said. “I think as we start to get older and especially for college age and up, it’s wrong to start getting into health issues.”
Kurasz mentioned that he is at higher risk for COVID-19 and has received his vaccination, but he is concerned younger people may experience serious side effects with the vaccine.
“When younger people started getting the vaccine, the number of blood clots that people were getting, it seemed like such a minor problem,” Kurasz said. “There might be something there that maybe it works on adults and maybe on younger people it is not quite the same.”
Kurasz has not always agreed with MSU’s decisions in the past on certain issues, but said that this was one of the decisions in the past year and a half that he has agreed with.
Marketing junior Natalie Falotico said she is proud of MSU’s decision not to require the vaccine next fall. She said that she recognizes that the vaccine is important to keep people safe, but believes that it is important for students to make that decision on their own.
“I think it is really important that MSU encourages students to get vaccinated but I do not think it should be a requirement or be held against them,” Falotico said in an email.
Falotico said that with this decision, she believes MSU has shown their support to the community in accepting everyone, vaccinated or not.
“It is important that we respect each other’s decisions and understand why some are unwilling to get vaccinated...,” Falotico said in an email. “It’s important that we are all kind to each other and willing to understand each other’s decisions. We all need to be safe but we all also need to be understanding of each other’s beliefs and value our differences.”
If MSU did require the vaccine next fall, Falotico said that it would accomplish a safer, "COVID-free" community, but she still believes there would be something else that would knock us down.
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“The last year has been hard on all of us and as a community it’s important we keep looking forward to brighter days and stand strong together,” Falotico said.
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