Herd immunity: it is one factor that could help us achieve a level of normalcy and one that many scientists believe in. When enough people are vaccinated, we will reach a point where the virus spreads at a much lower rate. This is important because it could reduce COVID-19 exposures across the board. Luckily, there is one group in particular that can help us reach that goal: college students.
When most people talk about their college experience, they normally don’t focus on hitting the books. Parties are the focal point and even though we are in a pandemic, that hasn’t stopped many college students from going out. These events have been known to be super-spreaders for COVID-19. College students are still going home, hanging out with their friends and traveling out of state. At this point, contact tracing has been forgotten about. If more college students were vaccinated, these factors wouldn’t have to be as much of a problem. There is no rule book on how we should handle this pandemic. However, the well-being of our society should be at the forefront of this fight. Wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing are put in place to help. Vaccination is as well. By ensuring that college students are receiving the vaccine, society is choosing to help the masses. This will speed up our world’s recovery process.
Every person is different, which means everyone has a different way of reacting to the pandemic. One college student I spoke to stated, “When I got to college, COVID-19 was a big factor for me. At first, I refused to go out and be around a lot of people but as school started, I realized that I can’t let COVID-19 run my life.” The student realized that they couldn’t see an end to this pandemic. They changed their perspective. However, they do have an opinion on vaccines; they commented, “We are now a year into this pandemic and the vaccines have started, I have scheduled myself to receive my first dose next week. I want to be a part of the movement on getting everyone vaccinated.” The student is handling the virus their way. They understand that their actions are their responsibility. This student finally explained, “My decision to go out with my friends without a mask is my choice but I am doing it safely. If you are able to be vaccinated, I recommend that you should. As a society, we cannot complain that we can’t do ‘our normal’ if we are not willing to help the numbers go down by getting the vaccine.”
If an influx of college students were to get the vaccine, herd immunity could happen in a more timely manner. It may also encourage other age ranges to follow suit. College kids are most likely to be in large groups with factors such as congregate living, parties and travel, which can lead to the prolonged spread of COVID-19. Students are the influence; if we make it a priority to vaccinate college students, our “normal” could happen sooner.
By Kaylee Haas, Staff Writer