FRANKFORT, Ky.- Ever since the pandemic started back in late 2019 to early 2020, the most talked about issue throughout the pandemic has been finding an answer to combat the virus. Vaccines were developed and first distributed in the U.S in late December of 2020 with those first vaccines given to hospital staff and other essential workers. The vaccine has been given on a voluntary basis allowing individuals the option to choose whether they would like to receive the vaccination shot or not. Fast forward to today and it has become one of the most debated issues across the country.
According to Our World in Data by University of Oxford as of Sept. 20, a little over 54% of the US population is fully vaccinated with about 9% of the population waiting to receive to receive their second dose to become fully vaccinated. This statistic shows a divide of as close to 50/50 as they’ll ever be. With this statistic in mind, COVID cases have been ramping up in rate as of recent. The CDC has a weekly count of the COVID cases on, and in the past seven days of this articles post there have been 131,000 new COVID cases in the U.S. According to the New York Times count of COVID cases per state, Kentucky ranks in the top ten in the U.S in new cases and hospitalizations. Along with that Kentucky State University releases a count of COVID cases among the students and faculty on-campus and as of Sept. 16, KSU has record of 269 cases among faculty and students. The question of debate has come about with these numbers in mind for wary students across the country and specifically for students of KSU who live in a state with one of the highest hospitalization rates; when will the covid-19 vaccine become mandatory?
As stated earlier, there has been a close split between the vaccinated and unvaccinated members of each community. Many people who are unvaccinated are wary due to the speed the vaccine came out and if it is truly safe to take. College students are no exception to this debate and may be part of the driving force of the conversation. Again, referencing the CDC, according to its demographic chart of vaccinated individuals, about half of individuals between the age of 18-24 are fully vaccinated as of Sept. 1.
Other schools and organizations in the collegiate community have taken steps to make it as mandatory as possible. The Chronicle of Higher Education has also identified 1,049 campuses as of Sept. 20 that require on-campus students to have a COVID vaccine registered. Major schools like USC, Yale, Georgetown University, and Michigan State University among many others.
The U.S government has not made the vaccine mandatory in any way for schools, so it is still up to the institutions to mandate vaccines or not. Kentucky State as of now hasn’t made any statement regarding any mandatory vaccinations for on-campus students. While the school has not made it mandatory for its students, certain aspects of student life have been limited. For example, Kentucky State athletics is a part of the SIAC (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) conference and in July of 2021 the conference made it mandatory for all athletes to be vaccinated to compete in any conference competition. For students, masks are required to enter any buildings on campus and go to any indoor events on campus.