Are flu shot mandates ethical? Florida colleges say yes as they enforce such vaccine mandates

Malinda Fusco

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Vaccine mandates have been under scrutiny lately, but COVID vaccines aren't the only ones that are being pressed upon the public. Flu vaccines are quickly becoming mandatory for many students and staff at universities in Florida and across the country.

This article takes a look at specific instances where flu vaccinations are mandatory in college settings, as well as the community's response.

Florida Universities

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As the flu season approaches, not only are flu shots hitting the market but so are COVID booster vaccines. The booster vaccines are a clear reminder that we aren't out of the woods yet with COVID, so to speak. So, of course, as the amount of people wearing masks in public lessens, as well as other measures that helped reduce flu spread last year, people are increasingly concerned about this upcoming flu season.

Because of growing concern, many universities have decided to enforce flu vaccine mandates, which basically require students, professors, and staff to get vaccinated against the flu. The mentality behind the mandates is to keep people out of the hospital for flu-related illness, thus protecting people both from flu and also allowing the hospitals more room for COVID patients.

Dr. Emilio Volz, the director of the University of Miami's Student Health Services, commented on the flu shot mandates.

"This year, especially, with the pandemic, one of the things we wanted to avoid was having people with double viral pneumonia. We certainly don’t want to have a bad respiratory virus season on top of [COVID-19]. We actually saw a decrease in acquired infections because people were wearing masks all around, so we had a very light flu season last year and we’re hoping to keep that up.”

There have been reports from other universities that indicate flu vaccine mandates are not an uncommon occurrence this year. In fact, this isn't just happening in Florida; and it is happening all over the United States.

Universities Across the Country

Many universities across the country are enforcing flu shot mandates in hopes of not only reducing the spread of the annual flu virus but also in hopes of reducing the flu's negative impact on COVID cases and on straining the hospital system.

The University of Miami is not the only one. Other confirmed universities are John Hopkins University and Georgetown University. John Hopkins University, for example, is mandating that all students and staff get vaccinated by November 1st.

One professor from the Bloomberg School of Public Health commented:

“Making the influenza vaccine mandatory was, I would say, a straightforward decision based on all of those considerations. I think people see the value in trying to control the flu, given that we’re still in a high level of covid transmission.”

Are flu vaccine mandates ethical?

Experts and universities say that vaccine mandates for vaccinations like the flu are not unethical. They claim to be trying to prevent severe outbreaks of the flu while we are dealing with the effects of COVID. According to the CDC, "An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu."

What do you think? Do you believe flu vaccine mandates should be allowed, or are they an infringement on our rights? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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