COVID-19 vaccine rollout: Why students & youth should also be a priority

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The opinions represent that of author, and do not represent the opinions of The Cord. 

Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is moving at the pace of the tortoise. Roughly 315 488 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Canadians accounting for less than 0.811 of the total population. In comparison, countries like Israel have vaccinated 17 per cent % of their population. The saddening part is that vaccination was halted in provinces like Ontario for Christmas and Boxing Day. 

The government of Ontario has chosen to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers and people in retirement homes as part of its Phase 1 vaccine rollout process. 

While it’s commendable to save the lives of healthcare workers and older-aged individuals, the younger generation has been put to the back of the line. It’s widely believed that COVID-19 has a lesser impact on the younger population, but the serious long-term effects of the virus are often neglected. Even though statistically, most young people youth can easily recover from the virusvaccine, they should not be taken for granted. 

People in their twenties are regarded as super-spreaders for COVID-19. In Canada, more individuals in their twenties have tested positive than any other age group. This shows that the young population is definitely at risk from COVID-19 even though deaths in this age group might be lower.

You cannot dismiss the inherent values and abilities that young, strong individuals have towards contributing to society. If officials considered the potential of the younger generation, students, they would become a larger top priority during the vaccination rollout. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case.  

Countries like Indonesia have decided to vaccinate their young population before their elderly, not only to stop the spread of the virus but also to kick-start the economy. The Indonesian government has realized the value of its young population and the desperate need to start the economy up again. 

The Canadian economy has also dived due to constant lockdowns forcing storefronts to close and loss of jobs. To date, 10 000 restaurants have closed permanently across Canada and many companies have gone bankrupt. The only way to start the economy again is by inoculating the young and working population of the country. 

I believe now it’s up to the universities across Canada, including Wilfrid Laurier University, to realize this value and advocate for the vaccination of its students. This will not only ensure a return to in-person classes but also reestablish a safe environment for students. 

Students are an important resource who develop crucial life skills when they attend educational institutions. No amount of technology can substitute a teacher teaching in person. This pandemic has hampered this process and it’s of the utmost importance to resolving this situation by vaccinating students. 

Vaccinating young Canadians will not only secure its future, but also support its economy through all this turmoil.

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