My health, my choice

Why people should not be forced to mask up and vaccinate themselves

Photo by Photo by Sasha Kek

According to statistics, 52% of Americans are fully vaccinated. Yet the vaccine does not guarantee immunity from COVID, and there are increasing numbers of breakthrough cases that resulted in hospitalization or death; if the vaccine is not 100 percent effective to prevent people from contracting the virus, why should anyone be forced to take it?

NOTE: This is the writer’s opinion and the following information is not intended as the writer’s medical advice, but research regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

Over the summer, District 95 parents attended board meetings to share their opinions regarding mask and vaccine policies for the 2021-2022 school year. The most common argument for vaccination was “child safety,” and the counterargument was the freedom of “choice and free will. ”

The issue some parents have are potential mandates – like the mask mandate in effect from August 4 – which would force all students, teachers, and staff to wear a mask and get the vaccine whether they desire to get it or not. According to Yale Medicine, “there is no track record to provide data for the future, which is the only way to know for sure” if vaccinated individuals will have long-lasting immunity from the virus and anticipates it will only last for three to six months.

With so many questions left unanswered and reports coming in that COVID counts are inflated, there is no reason to force anyone into getting a vaccine there is little knowledge about. But before the mask and vaccine issue can be tackled, everyone needs to be on the same page about what exactly a virus does.

Vaccination ethics

If someone told an individual with a nut allergy to eat a nut, the automatic reaction of that individual would be to say “no.” If someone told a claustrophobic person to go explore a very small cave, that person’s reaction would be to say “no.” Similarly, people who refuse to take the vaccine have their own reasons not to, whether they have a health issue that will react with the vaccine, that had adverse reactions to vaccines before, etc.; it is a personal decision.

To mandate every single person to take a vaccine is morally and ethically wrong because that takes away their control of their body. For schools and/or politicians to mandate a vaccine when they themselves do not have medical degrees is nothing less than insane. Instead, people should pay attention to vaccine concerns from practicing medical experts like Vladimir Zelenko, practicing physician, and Robert Malone, the creator of mRNA vaccines, especially when 60% of US physicians say they will not get the vaccine in a Global Research study.

On July 27, the FDA encouraged Pfizer and Moderna to begin extending vaccine trials on children five to 11 years old, according to the Epoch Times. If we question the ethics of animal experiments, child experimenting should never be considered in the first place. Especially considering that it is not uncommon for young children to die from the vaccine.

The most alarming case is in New York, where an eight-month-old “made history as the youngest person in the world to receive two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine,” reported NBC. Parents willingly volunteered their children to a study that did not test kids, when any possible complications are unknown. Doctors are still uncertain if the child will have any complications, but they are not ruling out the possibility of adverse reactions.

How viruses work

Like every virus, COVID enters the host and starts infecting cells in order to replicate throughout the body. According to, the body has two main defenses against viruses: T cells, which detect and kill cells that are infected with a virus, and natural killer cells, which kill cells that have fewer MHC molecules (molecules that latch onto cells to display proteins inside the cell).

Antibodies are another defense against viruses, which form from white blood cells called B cells, which are found in bone marrow, according to LiveScience. The human body has trillions of B cells, each containing an antibody, ultimately allowing the body to recognize any foreign substance. When antibodies detect a virus, they latch onto it and signal the immune system to start attacking the invader.

A Washington University School of Medicine study found that individuals who contracted a mild case of COVID were likely to have long-lasting protection; unlike the vaccine, natural antibodies from the virus are far more reliable because there is already data to prove it.

Adverse reactions to the vaccine and unintended misinformation

As with every vaccine, the COVID vaccine has both minor and significant adverse reactions, as both patients and doctors have reported on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), including: abdominal pain, sepsis, white blood cell disorder, acidosis, blood disorders like leukemia, anaphylactic shock, brain issues or death, respiratory issues and disorders, organ failure, vision problems, projectile vomiting, and potential death.

In fact, on July 27, Newsweek reported that of 5,914 vaccine breakthrough case reports the CDC received, 1,141 (about 20%) died from COVID-19 and 95% had to be hospitalized. Based on that data, it is not credible to rule out that the vaccine is not a perfect defense against the virus and can be ineffective, and even amplify the effects of COVID on vaccinated individuals.

While everything has a risk, there is no reason for other people to decide what someone should do with their body. Every single person should have the right to access their own risk rather than be threatened they will lose their job or be told they will die – in fact, VAERS data indicates the vaccine can also have deadly effects, and just because one person does not know an individual who died from the vaccine does not mean it does not happen.

To address the unintended misinformation, the CDC and other medical organizations based their positive COVID-19 statistics on PCR tests. These tests involved a nose swab that would indicate whether or not an individual contracted COVID-19. On June 10, the FDA ordered a Class l recall of the PCR tests because the test had a tendency to give a false-positive or false-negative test because the COVID-19 antigens were similar to common viruses like the flu.

The recall of the tests alone indicates that COVID data is not accurate, so there is no data that can account for fear of the virus and the rush for everyone to get vaccinated. The virus is such a politicized issue that people are inherently told to get the vaccine so they do not die from contracting the virus, and radical politicians threaten individuals who reject the vaccine that they will be dragged out of their homes and injected with the vaccine no matter what.

Transmission and vaccination statistics

According to the Northwestern COVID dashboard for Lake Zurich for the week of August 16, in a weekly average of 163 COVID-19 tests, eight tests (4.91%) will be positive. There are about 139 new cases per week in every 100,000 people (Lake Zurich has a population of 40, 919 as of May 15, so there would be about 57 new cases of COVID weekly in Lake Zurich) with a positivity rate average of 5.14% per week. While the numbers may seem high, the data does not indicate the severity of the virus, vaccination status, or age of the individuals who contracted the virus; it is also important to recognize that the week of August 16 was when District 95 students were going back to school, which may have caused a spike in the data.

In Lake County alone, 55.3% (387,210 people) of the population is fully vaccinated and an additional 12,479 people received one dose, according to the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) vaccination data as of August 23. For the United States as a whole, 52% of the population is vaccinated with an additional 9.4% that received one dose of the vaccine.

Based on research from John Hopkins’ School of Public Health, at least 70% of the population – depending on how socially active a community is  – would need to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity; thus far, there are, so there is no reason for force others who do not want the vaccine to be vaccinated.

Community appeal

The following data was shared during the July 29 board meeting. Parents were sent a survey on July 16 asking how they would prefer their children would go back to school. The results were shared prior to the Illinois August 4 mask mandate.

In the survey regarding COVID preferences for the 2021-2022 school year, a total of 77% of parents (678 of 877 high school respondents) reported they would prefer students not wear masks, with 59% reporting their child was already vaccinated and 18% who said their child was not vaccinated. On the other hand, 4% of parents said they would want their child specifically to wear a mask, and about 9% said they wanted all students to wear masks.

Once the vaccine becomes more available for students, 84% of parents say they would want their student unmasked, while the other 16% would want their child to continue wearing a mask. About 86% of teachers and staff members in D95 reported they were vaccinated, but with or without the vaccine, there is a majority of parents who would rather have students unmasked, or at least have parents choose to mask or unmask their children.

According to Illinois Policy, Governor Pritzker’s office announced on July 13 – prior to the mask mandate – that school districts will have the final say regarding mask and vaccine mandates based on what is best for their communities; based on the survey data, an overwhelming number of survey respondents are in favor of no masks or the ability for parents to decide what is best for their child.

Bottom line

It is no surprise that as scientists and medical professionals continue to learn more about COVID, the safety guidelines will continue to change. A year ago it seemed unlikely for students to be back in-person, and yet by February 2021 some students were already extended the opportunity to attend five days in-person.

There is no such thing as an “anti-masker” or an “anti-vaxxer,” which are used to define people who are completely against masks and vaccines for all individuals; these slurs are only meant to divide people and put them against each other. We are all human beings and we all have different opinions and perspectives, and practicing them does not make anyone a public enemy; our constitutional and human rights grant us the ability to choose what we want to do with our bodies. Most importantly, there should be no shaming towards people who are vaccinated and no shaming towards those who are not.