Sports Commentary: Are mandatory vaccinations worth it in schools?

Baltimore City and Anne Arundel Counties mandating vaccinations for student athletes

Belle Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

Baltimore City Public Schools will require a COVID-19 vaccination for all high school student-athletes before the winter and spring sports seasons. These high school student-athletes must be vaccinated by November 1.

This leaves student athletes with barely a month’s time to make a potential life changing decision for their personal health. The argument at question isn’t the vaccine itself, it’s the medical tyranny forced upon children. A COVID vaccine mandate on children is placing a health decision on children that’s not theirs to make.
A COVID vaccine mandate for the sake of all student-athletes’ future shouldn’t be in effect anywhere.
Although the Pfizer vaccine is readily available to anyone 12 and up, anyone under the age of 18 can’t even make medical decisions for themselves. All medical decisions must be authorized by a parent or guardian.
By mandating a personal health decision on a child, they are mandating a decision that’s not even a child’s choice.
In Baltimore City Public Schools, African-Americans make up 75.7% of the student population. This means a majority of student-athletes are African-American as well since the demographic makes up more than 75 percent of students. Therefore, this new mandate will affect the African-American student body the most.
However, compared to other races like the Asian and white communities, data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that approximately 72 percent of American adults have received at least one dose of one of the COVID vaccines. Among those vaccinated whose race is known, 58 percent are White and 10 percent are African American.
This implies that the African-American demographic is more vaccine hesitant than most races.
The USPHS Syphilis Study at Tuskegee included men infected with syphilis previously and a control group of men without the disease.
According to the CDC, in this unethical study, researchers targeted the African-American community by bribing a low-income population with “free medical exams, free meals, and burial insurance” in exchange for their well-being.
However, these free commodities were actually spinal taps done without anesthesia to study the neurological effects of syphilis. The men involved in this study were never educated on what was being done to their bodies; therefore, all of the study was done without their informed consent.
As a result of this trauma, it is understandable why many feel the vaccine should be a personal health choice. This choice should be based on an individual’s own comfort level, medical history, and the ability to weigh the potential risk factors, allowing them to ensure informed consent.
However, by the City of Baltimore and other counties questioning a mandate, making this choice for parents of student-athlete is undermining their own ability to do what’s right for their child.
Playing a sport in Baltimore City isn’t just playing a sport for fun. For some athletes, getting an offer for a college scholarship could mean a chance for a better life and an escape from their previous environment.
It could be their only ticket to have higher education. It’s more than just a fun game. So, by mandating a vaccine and taking away someone’s personal choice which is statistically that of African American’s opting out of the vaccine, that directly segregates a group of people for their decisions based on their health and race.
The implications of denying anyone, especially a child, of the opportunity to pursue their goals are catastrophic. We can’t let this cycle begin and continue again.