Why the State Should Not Force Student Vaccinations

Protest against the vaccination mandate

Josiah Cuellar

Protest against the vaccination mandate

Jesenia Garcia, Editor In Chief

On October 6th, the Board of Trustees directed the District to require that all eligible students who are 12 years of age and older be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by January 3rd to continue to take part in on-site instruction. Student athletes must be fully vaccinated by November 19th. The El Monte Union High School District’s policy is that students must be fully vaccinated by January 3, 2022 to continue to take part in on-site instruction. The vaccination mandate is now a topic of controversy around the world. On October 18th, 2021 the first state-wide sit-out was planned to protest against mandatory student vaccination. In Southern California, around 30-40% of students did not attend school that day. Another sit-out has been scheduled for Monday, November, 15th. Teachers are also participating in the state-wide sit-out along with students and parents. 

Parents even took an extra step and rallied at the State Capitol to protest the mandate. Their argument against the mandate is that there isn’t enough data out about the vaccine, they believe the decision whether to get vaccinated or not is theirs to make. Although there are benefits of receiving the vaccine, there are some problems with the mandate. 

 Vaccination sites require a minor to have a parent or guardian’s consent before receiving the shot. This is difficult for those whose parents are against vaccines. South El Monte High School student, Karen Donato, faced this obstacle. As a student-athlete, she had to get vaccinated but her mom was against her decision. “My mom has been anti-vax for as long as I can remember, anytime I mentioned it she would just ignore me.”  Students that want to get vaccinated won’t be able to if their parent doesn’t allow permission, the student then has no choice but to be excluded from their activities and in-person learning.  

Another issue students face is a lack of information regarding the vaccine. Several students are still unsure about receiving the vaccine because they want to be conscious of what they’re injecting into their bodies. The district is encouraging students to get vaccinated, yet they don’t give too much information about the vaccine itself. The information they do provide is more along the lines of places and sites they can go to get vaccinated. Angela Jacinto, a junior, is still unsure whether she plans to receive the vaccine in order to come back to school in January. “I feel like I’m being forced to get the vaccine, I’m doing fine without it so I don’t think I should be forced into getting something I don’t need.” The mandate adds unnecessary pressure and stress onto students. 

Regardless of the positives and negatives of the mandate, students either get vaccinated or stay home until further notice. This new vaccine is in addition to other historically required vaccines students have had to receive in order to attend public school in California. Immunizations students in California are required to receive include the following:

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis + booster (Tdap)(DTaP)
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • Polio
  • Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)
  • Hepatitis B