Why We Shouldn’t Be Asking About Vaccination Status

Nevaeh Lopez, Social Media Manager

 

 

     Vaccinations are the supposed “free pass” to normality in today’s society. People either love and encourage getting them, or are fearful of them. As of June 3rd, 2021, approximately 71% of Massachusetts residents have received at least one dose of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccine. And the other 29%? What’s up with them? The short answer is that people need to mind their own business.

     While getting fully vaccinated is definitely something that should be done, people do not have the right to ask someone if they are or are not vaccinated. Why? Well, you would not ask someone other personal medical related questions. Sally Scholz, chair and professor of philosophy at Villanova University, says NO to asking about vaccination statuses. “Although COVID-19 discussions feel as commonplace as discussing cinnamon rolls in the office kitchen, they’re not the same. This is a medical issue and, ethically, it’s never OK to ask someone about their health status; in essence, you are asking someone to divulge sensitive information about their medical history that they may be uncomfortable sharing. Think of it like asking someone if they are pregnant: It’s just not a good look. People have a wide variety of reasons for getting the vaccine or not getting the vaccine. And none of that is our business.” She says the thoughts of most people perfectly, portraying exactly the real privacy that vaccinated, and unvaccinated people face. People have reasons to not get the vaccine, and they might not be comfortable with sharing them. By asking their vaccination status you put them in an uncomfortable position. Do they embarrass themselves by providing a simple answer (that may lead you to believe that they are just anti-vax or anti-government), or do they go into too much detail trying to give you an explanation for being unvaccinated.

 

     This moves into the unvaccinated minor category. I’ve been in a handful of classrooms where teachers thought it was appropriate to ask who in the classroom was vaccinated by a show of hands. A classroom full of minors, who may not be allowed to be vaccinated. This is putting classmates against each other, they start judging each other based on their vaccination status which is never okay. Especially because vaccination statuses won’t determine the outcome of the lesson, nor will it interfere with anyone’s learning. Not all parents are comfortable with letting their children get vaccinated, and it isn’t fair to make the children feel bad about it, when it truly isn’t their fault. Overall, it can be taken offensively, especially in a professional setting.