Opinion: Mandates are a necessary evil


Photo via Unsplash

Two hundred ninety deaths per day as of March 2021. That’s the average death rate from COVID-19 within Texas — an honestly horrifying amount of lives lost. The pandemic has swept the state, taking the lives of many, and infecting many more, yet in spite of this, Texas governor Greg Abbott seemingly works against stopping the pandemic. 

On Aug. 25, 2020, mere days after the approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Abbott signed an executive order banning mandates of the vaccine. Instead of placing mandates to slow help the infection, measures have been made potentially to allow for  the further spread of the virus.

The fact that vaccine mandates have been banned is baffling. While Abbott encourages vaccination, the fact he has banned mandates nullifies that encouragement. Words alone cannot change the minds of every person among the masses. Words cannot change the minds of 40-year-old Facebook moms advocating for their “rights” by refusing to wear a face mask. 

It’s not like the vaccine is ineffective either. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections in those older than 16 years old — should they take both doses and have not been previously infected. The vaccine has shown to be effective, so the argument that it isn’t is null and void. 

“Biden’s vaccine mandate is an assault on private businesses,” Abbott tweeted on Sept. 9. While not everyone is vaccinated and may not be allowed into some stores should mandates be enacted, the alternative is to allow for infected, unvaccinated people to spread COVID-19 more easily, which would only make the need for mandates even stronger. 

There is a case to be made that the mandates may hurt smaller businesses by reducing the amount of customers entering their store. That may be true, but at the same time, bigger corporations are also suffering due to the pandemic. If the alternative is the worsening of the pandemic, and the increase of COVID-19 related deaths, I believe mandates are a necessary evil.

United Airlines was one of the first big companies to introduce a mandate to its workers, and it has shown itself to be effective. CEO of United Airlines, Scott Kirby, has reported that 98.5% of U.S.-based employees got vaccinated. Only 320 out of 67,000 — less than 1% — of all employees refused to comply, and were fired for not getting vaccinated.

The pandemic is only continuing to ravage the state of Texas with over 11,000 new cases a day, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. With Abbott’s ban of vaccine mandates, I can’t help but question and disagree with his decision. Vaccines have shown to be effective and so have mandates themselves. I can only hope that Abbott changes his mind about the current ban, as it only makes the road to a COVID-19-free Texas all the more difficult.