When everyone thought about how the world would end before COVID-19, I don’t think anyone pictured something quite like this. While the world isn’t ending, it’s cutting it close. The global death toll for this pandemic is rising dramatically every day, taking people’s loved ones with it. It doesn't start with a zombie bite, but instead germs. Then a cough and a fever. I never imagined that this would happen, especially during my time. There isn’t much we can do against this invisible enemy. There are masks, hand sanitizer, social distancing, and a major player in the game: Vaccines. The development of the COVID-19 vaccine has also brought an important question: Should we mandate this vaccine for everyone? In my opinion, I think we should for several reasons.

The first reason I think we should mandate the vaccine is because it is a powerhouse against COVID-19. Vaccines have been saving lives for centuries and are a powerful tool that we are fortunate enough to have today. When thousands of people were dying from polio and smallpox, there was little the common folk could do. Vaccines changed that, and the reason we can freely live without fear of such diseases is thanks to vaccines. While they are not always 100% effective, they still majorly help the prevention of them, thus allowing us to live without fear of polio, as previously stated.

The second reason I think we should mandate the vaccine is because this isn’t a small or individual effort. This vaccine was being worked on by everyone around the world, and funding was being flooded into this effort. COVID-19 was so distracting, deadly, and contagious that these efforts were necessary. Top notch scientists and doctors all over the globe were working with the best and latest technology to push out this vaccine. While it is the fastest vaccine ever developed, are we really surprised with today's advancements? We have to remember that vaccines developed and used today were developed decades ago. For example, the polio vaccine was developed in 1963. They didn’t have the technology and resources we have today, so it is no wonder that it took so long. We had the funding because this is a global pandemic, the latest and greatest technology, and the help of everyone around the world working on the same project.

The final reason I believe we should mandate the vaccine is because it will be saving lives at a small risk. This isn’t a personal decision, like needing an amputation or deciding to undergo surgery, this affects everyone. Not just ourselves, but everyone around us, and eventually, the world. If we all get vaccinated, COVID-19 will stop having so many opportunities to mutate and spread. You are not just saving your own life, but others lives as well. This is a global pandemic, and the stakes are high.

The benefits outweigh the risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Intervention (CDC) “Reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare. More than 403 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through October 6, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 8,638 reports of death (0.0021%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS...Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. A review of available clinical information...has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines,” according to Centers for Disease Control. Even the CDC has agreed that getting the vaccine allows only a rare window of risk for death, and the numbers of deaths from COVID-19 stand much higher in that allotment of time as well. Only a small percentage of people have died from this vaccine, eight times less than the population of Norfolk. We can’t waste time arguing over this, because as we do so, more people die. The hospitals are getting full again, people lie in their beds struggling to breath, and we are still getting nowhere. The time to act is now.

In other news

Norfolk Catholic’s inaugural girls wrestling program welcomes six candidates — seniors Ivy Vu and Haylee Serres, juniors Grace Koch and Quinlyn Kennel, sophomore Jordan Aschoff and freshman Miranda Headley.

The Norfolk High wrestling program had one of its most successful seasons ever last year, finishing with a 17-4 dual record, qualifying 11 wrestlers for the Nebraska State Wrestling Tournament and earning a fourth-place team finish at state.