My Reason For Getting Vaxxed: College Admissions


Charlize Chiang

The Sept. 27 vaccine mandate by California State Universities put vaccine hesitant students who need affordable university options in a bind.

I did not get vaccinated because I was worried about my health. I did, however, get vaccinated because I wanted to have a normal last year of high school sports without having to quarantine every time I get exposed to COVID-19, and so I could see musicals, plays, and concerts in person.

But the main reason why I chose to get vaccinated: I want to go to a college that I can afford. 

The largest four-year public college system in the United States — California State Universities (CSU) — announced on Sept. 27 that all CSU campuses would require students and staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 (“Receiving a COVID vaccine continues to be the best way to mitigate the spread of the virus,” the CSU stated in a press release). Because the CSU system is one of the most affordable in the nation — the average cost of attendance for California residents is $9,580 while a California private school costs an average of $22,587 a year — a lot of students, in California and out-of-state, apply there.  

This is a major problem for high school seniors who are hesitant about getting the vaccine but still want to attend both an affordable university and their dream school.

95% of CSU students are from California, including many from BOHS. Of the 2019 BOHS graduating class, for instance, 289 of the 425 seniors — 68% — went to a California public college (including community colleges like Cypress, Fullerton, and Coastline, which also require vaccines), which means that 68% of them are required to be fully vaccinated. 

As some of the most affordable schools in California, the vax mandate puts pressure on students who can’t afford those private or out-of-state universities that do not require vaccines. 

The reasons for vaccination hesitancy are many. When I first considered getting the vaccine, I was worried about what would happen 10 to 15 years down the road when I decide I want to have a family, or even further down the line when I may be at risk for blood clots (blood clotting has appeared in some people who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine). My dilemma: Do I risk potential future health complications for the sake of lower tuition?    

If I remained unvaccinated, I wouldn’t be able to attend Long Beach State or San Diego State, two of my top choices. Instead, I would be forced to apply to out-of-state schools or to an expensive California private school that doesn’t require the vaccine. 

Vaccinated Californians say it is a choice to get vaccinated or to just not go to a public college, but really, getting vaccinated is an ultimatum for those who choose not to get vaccinated. Students with vaccine hesitancy should not be barred from attending the most accessible and affordable colleges and universities in the state. A student’s vaccination status should not be the sole determining factor in a student’s admission to college.