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Campus Voices: The vaccine mandate

By Patrick Healy, Opinion Editor (Photo by Kyra Laurie)

When contemplating a vaccine mandate for this fall semester, Canisius expected 85% of students to be vaccinated. President Hurley, in justifying a vaccine mandate, wrote that this expectation had not been met and also implied that educational efforts to rectify that had failed. Dr. Sandra Estanek announced in an email from Oct. 8 that students who wish to attend in-person classes in the spring must receive their final COVID-19 vaccine shot no later than Jan. 4, 2022. (Classes begin a fortnight later, on Jan. 18.)

The Griffin spoke with students about the wisdom of vaccination mandates, the timing of the decision and whether the mandate should mean no more masks.

Of those we spoke with, opinion was divided. Some were unfamiliar with the policy, a few expressed deep skepticism and still others cited the “public good” as reason enough to impose a mandate. Junior Joe Meli noted that “whether you get the vaccine and whether you should be mandated are two different questions.” Most of those opposed to the college’s policy emphasized this: Don’t confuse anti-mandate with anti-vax.

Little distinction was made between a college mandate and a government mandate. None who opposed the Canisius mandate instead supported a government mandate, and those who agreed with the Canisius mandate also tended to agree with government mandates. Pointing to their mask, sophomore Shannon Doyle said, “These won’t work forever.” Vaccines will “go to the root of the problem,” and for that worthy objective a mandate is justified. Mutations, Doyle explained, can undermine current vaccines. Haste is recommended.

Many who were vaccinated saw it as an opportunity to ditch the face coverings. There was little sympathy among mandate-supporters for those who dislike needles: “Don’t be a wimp,” one remarked. “No pain, no gain” seems to be an applicable maxim.

Junior Carlo Mastrodonato said, “If we get to 100% vaccination [of] students, masks should definitely not be required.” The Undergraduate Student Association senator continued, “If we do have a substantial amount of exemptions [that prevent us from getting to 100% vaccinated], the exempted students should still have to wear masks.”

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