A increasing number of schools and institutions around the country have declared that vaccines will be required beginning in the autumn of 2021.
Hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren will now be obliged, regardless they want to or not, to receive the Covid-19 vaccination.
Most students will get vaccinated if it means returning to pre-pandemic “normal” school life by September. However, this is not the case for everyone.
According to a recent College Finance study of more than 1,000 college students, over 88 percent plan to receive the coronavirus vaccine, and over three-quarters feel immunizations should be required.
Jackie Gale, a rising sophomore at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, meanwhile, is not among them.
Gale has never been vaccinated due to religious beliefs. The 19-year-old attended public schools in Alabama and acquired a religious objection from the state health department.
According to her lawyer, the University of Alabama-Birmingham excused Gale from immunization obligations for the 2020-2021 academic year but will not do so again for the following year.
“If they decide to give her a religious exemption, that will be the end of it,” said Hiram Sasser, executive general counsel for First Liberty Institute, based outside of Dallas. “If not, we will have to communicate with them through a lawsuit.”
“In compliance with applicable law, we do provide religious exemptions for immunization requirements,” a spokeswoman for the school said. The university does require students provide proof of immunization against certain diseases, although there is currently no Covid vaccine mandate for the fall semester.
Many vaccine mandates are already in place for students to stop the spread of illnesses such as polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough.
All 50 states have certain form of vaccination mandate for pupils in public schools and even those in private schools. There are medical exemptions in every circumstance, and in certain cases, religious or philosophical exemptions as well.
Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, has announced that it would now require Covid vaccines for all of its 71,000 students.
“Adding Covid-19 vaccination to our student immunization requirements will help provide a safer and more robust college experience for our students,” Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway said in a statement.
“We are committed to creating a safe campus environment in fall 2021, and to support the health and safety for all members of the Rutgers community, the university has updated existing immunization requirements for students to include the Covid-19 vaccine,” a spokesman for the university added.
Sara Razi, a 21-year-old Rutgers junior, is contesting that mandate.
″I’m not anti-vax, I’m anti-mandate,” she said. “My education should not be restricted based on my personal decision to receive the Covid-19 vaccination.
“Vaccinations are a personal and a private choice and students should have the right to choose whether or not they want to take a vaccine that is experimental,” Razi added. “Therefore, a public institution like Rutgers should not have the right to dictate a student’s personal decisions.”
Razi, who has already had vaccines, said she hasn’t decided if she would have a Covid injection. Meanwhile, she will take part in a campus demonstration against the school’s requirement.
The political science undergraduate from Freehold, New Jersey, is also a participant of Young Americans for Liberty, a libertarian organization operating on almost 400 college and university campuses around the country, which include Rutgers.