The Principle of Bodily Autonomy in Covid Epidemic Essay


The Covid-19 virus has affected hundreds of thousands of people across the United States and with a vaccine thought to be released soon a hot topic has arisen. The heated debate on if the vaccine should become mandated throughout the states in order to try and pull ourselves out of the pandemic faster.  Although the vaccine should be highly encouraged, it should not become mandatory to those over the age of 18 because it violates the right of bodily autonomy and we need to inform people on why it is important. 

Those who believe that mandating the vaccine is necessary bring forward the point that the fastest way to help get the United States out of the pandemic and stop the high number of deaths to continue to climb is to mandate the vaccine and create what is known as herd/community immunity. “Herd immunity happens when so many people in a community become immune to an infectious disease that it stops the disease from spreading” (Healthline) which in this case means that if everyone were to get the vaccine the virus would have nowhere to go and would stop affecting people. This herd immunity has been proven to work with many other vaccines and is extremely important for those who are unable to get the vaccine for themselves or just have a weakened immune system. Therefore, minors should be required to get the vaccines due to the high volume of day to day contact they will experience when schools are back in session.  

When in a classroom kids are in close contact with one another and with most mask mandates children under the age of five are unrequired to wear a mask out in public areas and in school they would be highly likely to contract the virus without this protection. This could not only cause a massive spread of cases around the young children but also their families as well. If this were to happen the pandemic would continue to dominate the United States. Children are just as likely to contract the illness as adults. Researchers have found that, “children under 10 who were in close contact with people who had COVID-19 demonstrated a 7.4% infection rate — very similar to the 7.9% infection rate in adults. However, the researchers also determined that children were less likely to develop symptoms, even though they seemed just as likely as adults to contract the virus” (Cohut) the fact that the children don’t show signs could make it more dangerous because they could give it to others without even knowing they had it in the first place. That is why it is important for them to get vaccinated to lower their risk of infection.  

Those over the age of eighteen have the right of bodily autonomy which has been in effect for many years and has become a constitutional right in many aspects. An example of such would be the Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade in which, “the court declared that a woman’s right to an abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment" (History.com) meaning that they, along with everyone else, have the right to bodily autonomy protected by the constitution. Bodily autonomy gives a person the right to make their own decisions on what to do with their bodies especially in a medical setting, this includes vaccines. Creating a mandate on a brand-new vaccine could be a violation of these rights and should not be tampered with. While the vaccine could lead to a shortening to the pandemic many citizens are concerned about how fast the vaccine has been created and the possible ramifications of such in the future.  

The Covid-19 vaccine is quickly making its way through testing and will soon be available to the public leaving some people highly skeptical and concerned. Most vaccines take up to two to three years to create and fully test before they are released to the public and the fact that it has been under a year since the Coronavirus has become a big issue throughout the world there is concern that it is getting pushed through without thorough testing. Most are concerned that while the vaccine may work in the moment we do not know if or when long term side effects will emerge. Almost everyone in the United States now knows that the coronavirus is real and has real consequences and are most likely to get the vaccine after a year or so if not when it first becomes available, they are just worried for their own heath later down the line and would rather wait for a second verson to come out even if that means living through the pandemic for a while longer. This shouldn’t be too much longer due to the fact that, “vaccines developed with today’s technology are required to be renovated yearly due to differentiation in conformational structure” (Ozkan) because viruses are known to mutate and leave the old vaccine useless. This leaves room for more testing and looking at long term effects which will leave more people hopefully more willing to get the vaccine and create the herd/community immunity that is extremely important in a society. 

If the vaccine is released to the public but not mandated it should become a high priority to inform the people as much as possible about the vaccine and how it is important to have a herd/community immunity. This is important to have in order to protect the people who are unable to get the vaccine because they are either too young (for example a newborn) or their immune system is weakened and therefore wouldn’t be able to handle the vaccine. The more that the public is informed that getting the vaccine could save lives and potentially get our lives back to how they were pre-covid a lot quicker there might not even be a need to mandate the vaccine because at this point most people are completely ready to put Covid-19 behind them and just get back to how their lives were before. If funding is put out to advertise and inform how the vaccine would help more people would be willing to get it and not be as scared.

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