The stagnating rate of Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19, at nearly 50%, is prompting a growing number of American public schools, colleges, and private companies to turn to a controversial legal tool to get more people immunized: mandatory vaccination.
Nearly 600 colleges will require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated before returning to campus in September, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Meanwhile, some public school districts require teachers and administrators to show proof of vaccination. Many private businesses have also announced vaccination requirements for employees.
Health experts say 70% or more of Americans need to be vaccinated for the country to achieve “herd immunity.” Mandatory vaccination has emerged as a weapon in the fight against the deadly variant of the coronavirus. But those efforts have faced resistance, not just from anti-vaccine activists.
In recent months, lawmakers in Republican-controlled states have proposed more than 100 laws that would ban schools and workplaces from requiring vaccination. So-called vaccine passports for travel and other services are also prohibited. Nearly 10 of the bills have been signed into law in states such as Arkansas and Tennessee.
The controversy over vaccination requires that supporters and opponents clash. According to supporters, this is the only way to get millions more adults and children injected. Opponents say this is a violation of personal freedom and is potentially dangerous. [ka/pp]