Although Oklahoma Christian University has generally pushed students to be vaccinated, some students have reason to refuse the vaccination. Some feel not enough information has been provided to warrant a requirement for vaccinations.
For the 2021 fall semester at Oklahoma Christian, athletes and medical students are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 if they do not have a religious exemption. Junior Bailey Giese quickly educated herself about how effective the vaccine is.
“Initially I thought the vaccines would help manage the spread of COVID-19,” Giese said. “I thought that they would be tested in clinical trials for longer than a year before being given to the general public.”
Giese, a nursing major, said she did her research to make sure all the facts are correct for her and her patients.
“There are thousands of healthcare professionals refusing to take the vaccine, which makes me stop and think about what its effects are,” Giese said.
Research is important to senior Julie Pekrul with regard to the vaccine and its requirement.
“If they were to get ‘encouraged’ the only fair presentation is equally presenting both sides and leaving the decision to the individual, without any sort of guilt trip,” Pekrul said.
The choice to be vaccinated is not something which should be taken lightly according to Giese.
“I believe that if someone is going to make the decision to be vaccinated, they should know all of the potential side effects: The statistics of people who have been injured or who have died from receiving the vaccine,” Giese said.
Vaccine reactions are specific to the person and Pekrul said it should be completely up to the person to be vaccinated or not.
“Vaccines are up to the individual,” Pekrul said. “Just like the nurse at the doctor’s office gives you info to take home and decide for yourself what’s best for you.”
For some in the athletic and nursing departments, the high encouragement for COVID-19 vaccinations have been controversial.
“It is great for OC to have the vaccine as an option for the surrounding community,” Giese said. “However, I don’t think that college students should be required to receive the vaccine in order to attend classes.”
Pekrul said having a singular outlet for COVID-19 information has led to the turmoil behind campus vaccines.
“People should find it weird that it’s ‘free’ when they are so hungry,” Pekrul said. “They should think it’s weird from a marketing perspective that there is no advertising competition.”
Since travelling has become more frequent, Giese said she feels more proof is needed.
“We are moving towards vaccine cards being required for going into stores and traveling. These are loss of liberties,” Giese said. “It is discrimination to deny people travel rights based on health decisions.”
Freedom is a question Giese said needs to be talked about more in the conversation on vaccines.
“The worst part about the vaccine is that the U.S. government is trying to force 100% of the population to receive the vaccine,” Giese said. “This doesn’t make sense because the vaccines are proving not to be as effective as previously stated.”
There is a sense of neutral ground with those who disagree with vaccines, especially in the light of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“It has proven it’s not effective already,” Pekrul said. “If it is effective for the people who have it then others certainly don’t have to get it.”
There are students refusing to be vaccinated at Oklahoma Christian and students like Giese and Pekrul are examples of why. Research and restricted choice are the top reasons a required COVID-19 vaccine feels problematic.