UTC Parents and Students Are Divided on Possible Vaccine Mandate

By Allen Lin, Staff Writer-

UTC is gearing up for a near-normal fall semester, and the possibility of a vaccine mandate is lingering in the minds of students.

According to Dr. Yasmine Key, the director of the University Health Services, “there is no Covid vaccine mandate for students at this time from our campus or from the UT system.”

However, the Director of the School of Nursing Dr. Chris Smith and the University Health Services sent out an email detailing the Health Center received the Moderna vaccine and anyone 18 years or older is eligible. 

At this time, only UTC faculty, staff, and students are eligible to attend a vaccination clinic. For those who do not meet the eligibility requirements, the clinic is also implementing a “no waste” list. If there are doses remaining at the end of the day, participants who signed up can receive the vaccine. 

Lio Lado, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering stated his concerns about a possible vaccine mandate.

“I am unsure about it because there are multiple vaccines, and I am concerned about the safety,” Lado said. “However, I don’t mind a vaccine mandate as long as it is quick and easy to access for students.” 

Kary Choate, from the UTC Parent Facebook Group, voiced her opinion regarding the potential requirement.

“It concerns me that this new vaccine will be required for students to return to school. No one knows the long-term effects this virus may have on young people,” Choate said. “However, if it means mask mandates can be dropped, in person classes again, social activities for everyone can resume, and then maybe it’s worth it.”

She went on to say, “I do wish students would have the option on such a new vaccine.”

Another parent, Stephanie Covington, shared her opposing thoughts in the group.

“I was required to have my child vaccinated prior to entering kindergarten and high school. I also had to provide up to date vaccination records to UTC because it was required,” Covington said. “With that being said, if UTC implemented a COVID vaccine requirement in order for my child to continue attending, I would comply.” 

Additionally, there was a survey created by the Covid-19 Campus Support Team that was distributed to faculty, students, and staff to gauge the attitude toward Covid-19 vaccines. The majority 943 people out of the university population would receive the COVID vaccine while 348 would not consider it. Out of 943, 581 students expressed support while 308 opposed. 

In terms of the factors that might affect students’ decision to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, many cited safety, inconvenience, and efficiency.

One student said, “I don’t normally do vaccines, and I’m not convinced we know enough about Covid or the vaccines.” 

While another student stated, “I want others who need it more than I do to receive it first. I want to be last in line.” 
You can share your input on the Covid vaccines here.

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