On April 23, San Diego State announced that immunization against COVID-19 will be required for students, faculty and staff who plan to access the campus facilities. The vaccination requirement, which is set to be implemented by the 2021 fall semester, brought out various opinions from the students.
Student Health Services announced in a university-wide email that the requirement will be implemented by both the California State University and University of California systems, pending full approval of one or more vaccines by the FDA.
Numerous students applauded the requirement, recognizing the importance of the overall health of students on campus. Several students had alternative opinions.
One student, who requested anonymity, felt an infringement on their freedom.
“To force students to put something in their body with no research on the long-term effects…I will still take it if required so I can get my degree but I don’t agree with it being forced,” the student said.
Amy Rojas, a third-year student majoring in public health, said that students who are unwilling to take the vaccine, are part of the problem.
“I think it’s very selfish for you to think of yourself as just one person when there are so many others to account for and there are other people who have legitimate reasons for not being able to take the vaccine,” Rojas said. “There are people that want to go back [to school] that have those [health] issues and they probably won’t because of people who can get the vaccine but will choose not to.”
Opinions on the vaccination requirement weren’t necessarily black and white.
Fourth-year student Esteban Aceves generally approves of the requirement but felt that the University should proceed with the requirement after the consideration of student opinion.
“I do believe it [the vaccine] is beneficial but for it to be a requirement is somewhat ambiguous,” Aceves, said. “SDSU should ask the opinions of students if they feel accepting for it to become a requirement. I think it’s also important to ask students if they feel comfortable coming back in person or if they can have online/hybrid alternatives.”
A freshman at SDSU, who is also in the military, compared the university’s vaccination requirement to the fact that it is not yet required in the military. The student asked to remain unnamed.
“I think it’s a very smart decision by the school to wait for FDA approval. Personally, I’ll be waiting until then to get my vaccine,” the student said. “The military is not currently requiring us to get the COVID-19 vaccine…and I’m guessing they will also be waiting for FDA approval as well to make it a requirement.”
The student discussed the role he feels the FDA approval plays in terms of the university’s requirements.
“If the school had jumped the shark and required students to take the vaccine before it was FDA approved, I would see it only as a publicity stunt to make up for how poorly they [SDSU] handled getting students off campus last year,” the student said.
The student cited the university’s “poor” handling by explaining the limited amount of time students had to move out of their dorms. The student described the situation as a “free for all.”
SDSU encourages students to get vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus. Pop-up messages appeared on student’s Canvas accounts, encouraging students to make a vaccination appointment at Viejas Arena or other vaccination centers. The university is offering 100, $50 gift cards to students who upload their vaccination cards to HealtheConnect.
Currently, three vaccines are available, including Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen. Whether or not students will be compliant with the university’s requirements will be well-known in the fall.