Vaccine Mandates

As vaccine distribution continues across the country, places have begun implementing vaccine mandates,

Courtesy of Yahoo News

As vaccine distribution continues across the country, places have begun implementing vaccine mandates,

Fiona Salisbury, Photojournalist

Across the country, COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed. Even though only a select few groups of people have already been vaccinated, many organizations are looking to the near future when vaccines will become more readily available. At the moment, a significant percentage of the United States population is still hesitant to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but it is highly likely that with vaccine mandates, the majority of people will be required to receive a vaccine.


Some people believe that the federal government will be the organization that mandates vaccines, but this is not the case. Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that he does not “support a nationwide mandate of the COVID-19 vaccine. The government is capable of requiring certain groups of people, such as healthcare workers, to receive vaccines, but it is not realistic for the federal government to require the entire United States population to become vaccinated. Instead, state governments, education systems, and businesses will likely be the groups that enforce vaccine mandates.”


In the past, states have mandated vaccines in order to protect public health and public safety. While no states have officially made receiving a COVID-19 vaccine necessary, government officials in New York and Virginia have discussed the possibility of mandating the vaccine unless an individual has been exempt from medical issues.


Unlike state requirements, vaccine mandates are being implemented in the education system. Some public schools and universities plan to require students and staff to be vaccinated in order to attend in-person learning. At the moment the Placentia Yorba Linda Unified School District has shared no plans to mandate vaccines, but one school district that plans to do so is the Los Angeles Unified School District. LAUSD is requiring its students to be vaccinated to ensure that in-person learning is as safe as possible. While this will likely encourage many students to receive a vaccine, at the moment it is unclear if it will be effective since many of the students are too young to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 


Private businesses are also able to mandate vaccines. They may require their employees to receive the vaccine, or it is possible that they may even turn away customers as long as it does not violate the Anti-Discriminatory laws. Especially in the travel industry, people are expected to be vaccinated. There is much discussion regarding the possibility of a vaccine passport. This will force people who wish to travel to receive a vaccine. Even if a vaccine passport is not used, airline companies such as Qantas plan to require passengers to be vaccinated.


Even with the large variety of ways vaccines can potentially become mandated, there will likely be loopholes. For example, if a local government were to enforce vaccinations, people will likely be given an option to pay a fine instead. People who may not be able to become vaccinated due to religious or health reasons will also be exempt from receiving the virus. Juliana Neemeh (10) believes that “vaccine mandates may be the only way to get a large amount of the population vaccinated.” Because of this, it is likely that in the near future the number of places requiring vaccines will increase.