FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- It’s a balancing act: the needs of the public versus individual choice. The scale? Whether or not higher education institutions should require the COVID-19 vaccine.
Indiana University public health professor Doctor Nir Menachemi says the COVID vaccine is different from the chickenpox and measles vaccines, which some colleges require, because it’s only FDA-approved for emergency use.
“We usually don’t have this process because we’re not usually in an emergency,” he said.
He said the response to this pandemic has been a ‘learn along the way’ process.
“I think everyone’s default is ‘people are gonna do the right thing. Let’s let them do it,’” he said.
And if it doesn’t work … adapt and try again.
Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Services and Student Success at Ivy Tech in Fort Wayne, Susan Brown, says the school required masking and distancing when the pandemic began.
Now the school wants its community to do the right thing.
“We’ve highly encouraged employees and students to get the vaccine,” she said.
Brown said the school emailed students with vaccine updates and quick links to information.
“It was easy, you could go right there, you didn’t have to find it somewhere else,” she said.
Menachemi says college students may want to get vaccinated soon if they’re looking to apply for internships or jobs in the coming months.
This way they won’t have to wait multiple weeks for the vaccine to take full effect when their job is supposed to start.
“This could be a non-issue if they … get it all done,” Menachemi said.
He said young adults will play a role in ending the pandemic.
”They’re an important, growing part of society that represents tomorrow’s leaders,” he said.
A spokesperson for Purdue Fort Wayne said in an email to FOX 55 that getting the vaccine is one of the most important steps toward ending the pandemic, and is encouraging students and faculty to get the vaccine.
It is not a requirement for the upcoming fall semester.