COVID vaccine added to immunization list

FDA approves Pfizer—ULM requires vaccine for students

The COVID vaccine is now on the list of required immunizations for students at ULM.

The new requirement will go into effect next semester. Before the Spring 2022 registration period, all students must provide documentation of immunization against COVID.

The only other options are to either provide documentation from a physician saying the student should not get the vaccine or provide a written dissent for getting the vaccine.

The requirement is a result of the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine.

The Office of Marketing and Communications released a statement last week and said our return to normalcy depends on minimizing the impact of COVID and that the vaccine will help us achieve that.

“We strongly encourage all students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible,” said the statement.

But some students, like Austin Hymel, aren’t in support of the vaccine requirement.

Hymel, a junior pre-pharmacy major, said students should be able to choose whether they get the vaccine or not. 

He said since we’re adults and can make our own decisions about things like voting, we should be able to make our own decisions about vaccines.

Hymel said he understands that requiring the vaccine will have benefits like lessening the chance of contracting the virus and making symptoms mild for those who do catch COVID.

Meanwhile, Hymel said, the downside is the “violation of people’s religion, rights and discretion. ” He said the vaccine was “rushed and not refined.”

Hymel said the competition between the three major vaccine providers means they cut corners to produce their vaccines the quickest.

However, other students like Caitlyn Cullen think the vaccine requirement is vital for public health.

Cullen said the COVID vaccine should be viewed in the same way as all the other vaccines students are required to get.

“Public safety is not a choice,” Cullen said. “It is important to require vaccines in order to protect our fellow humans.”

Cullen mentioned that one reason it’s so important for people to get the vaccine is for the people who can’t get it because of medical or religious reasons.

She said requiring the vaccine means those who are immunocompromised or unable to get the vaccine will be able to return to campus and “enjoy the rest of their college journey in person without fearing illness.”

Kristie Croswell, a ULM alumna with a bachelor’s in psychology, also said requiring the vaccine is important for immunocompromised students. She said they should be able to feel comfortable and respected returning to classes on campus. 

Croswell said people have abused their ability to choose and vaccines need to be mandated.

“It’s important to recognize the privilege in being able to even have the choice to get the vaccine while other countries are begging for it,” Croswell said.