Colleges in the 2021-2022 Academic Year & Coronavirus (Part 2)

I don’t know what the numbers are for college vaccines but haven’t heard of a big reluctance in those communities.

For my own kids, who are 24 and 25, their current reluctance was timing. One was taking the PE exam and didn’t want to get vaccinated while she was studying and just before the exam date in case she had a reaction. Today she started back to working from her office (and transferred from another state during the last year so it’s her first day in this office).

The other daughter lives in another state where the vaccinations are not as available. She too wants to time the vaccination in case there is down time. She is going back to school in the fall so will have to get it soon. She also has some travel plans this summer so I’m hoping she gets it soon.

I think some college students might be reluctant to get a vaccination during finals in case there is a reaction. No one wants to lose 24-48 hours of studying time during finals.

Or who have the time flexibility to go to a vaccine appointment at a random “take it or leave it” time of day that may be the only available time during the appointment shortage. It may improve now with easier appointment availability at all hours of the day and walk-in availability.


San Francisco demographics predict a high rate of COVID-19 vaccine enthusiasm and a low rate of COVID-19 vaccine reluctance, so that may not be too surprising.

@AlwaysMoving , my son’s campus has been doing all four things in your list. A week or so ago, they sent out an email that at least 50% of students had already received at least one dose.

For those who have been vaccinated, they are no longer required to wear masks outside, unless in a large group gathering (an example they gave was commencement activities), and they no longer have to participate in surveillance testing.

My son has been fully vaccinated for three weeks. Initially, his housemates were not keen on getting vaccinated and causing my son to doubt whether he wanted to get it. My son and I had a long talk about it (emphasizing #4 of your list but moreso the importance of doing it to help those who are unable to be vaccinated, not necessarily worrying about his grandparents who are vaccinated) and he realized the pros outweighed the cons, which for him was really just the concern the vaccine was under emergency approval. Long story short, he said his housemates probably would not get vaccinated unless the school mandated it. While all this conversation was going on, one of the housemates tested positive. All had to go into quarantine, and a second then tested positive. Before our son returned to campus, he got vaccinated (J&J). Then lo and behold…his housemates, except the ones who just tested positive, all got vaccinated as well.

My son is happy he does not need to wear a mask while outside, but unfortunately since he is part of a sports team, he is still required to get tested 3x/week even if fully vaccinated. An inconvenience but he is happy that with more students get vaccinated, they are lifting some of the restrictions (gym reopened, dining hall reopened, etc but still at reduced capacity).

That’s not even factual. If grandpa is vaccinated then he’s pretty well protected and your kid’s choice will have little impact. Also, there’s something morally wrong - not to mention unprecedented - with trying to pressure someone to undergo medical treatment primarily for the benefit of someone else. Sharing facts and avoiding the guilt trip is probably a better way to communicate with our children.

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Yes absolutely. My oldest son lives there and when he had the opportunity to get it in late January (maybe early Feb) he did. Not soon after 3 of his 5 roommates were vaccinated. I’m sure by now they’re all vaccinated as they were all super careful. Quarantined and tested before returning to SF to move in together and then quarantined again upon returning in January when things were not so great in CA. He has said people are starting to go out and he was leaving where they live to go to an office instead of solely working from home. I think it was a year since he’s seen his business partner which is crazy meanwhile they’ve hired employees all this time. But happy he’s in a place doing so well!

There are too many places in this country where a high percentage of people haven’t been vaccinated yet. If a school is offering the vaccine to their students, then get the darn vaccine. Being altruistic is a good thing!


For me, encouraging kids to think of the vulnerable is the definition of morality. Maybe you meant that only undue pressure is immoral?

The vaccine is only 95% effective. If my unvaccinated kid were to get Covid, especially a variant, and then talk face to face with their grandfather indoors for a couple hours, he would likely get it. The vaccine would probably help him fight it. However, older people are in what’s known as immune senescence and vaccines don’t elicit as robust a protective response as they would in a young person.

My kids are close with their grandparents and will spend nights at their houses etc. If they were vaccine hesitant, DH and I would absolutely help them understand the situation.

I also think the risk of long Covid (in kids and adults) is far higher than the risk of vaccine complications. So, if my kids were vaccine hesitant, I would also be talking to them about risking their own health.


Morality has many sometimes-competing dimensions; caring for others or altruism is one of them, but not the only one. All aspects of morality also have to compete against selfish interests (whether or not those selfish interests are well informed). Someone who believes that the vaccine is more dangerous than the disease may not be swayed by morality arguments (altruism or otherwise). Someone who believes that the disease is more dangerous than the vaccine needs no morality argument to get vaccinated, because selfish reasons will be enough to induce them to get vaccinated.

Thinking of and acting on behalf of the vulnerable is commendable and should be encouraged. There are limits, of course. Undue pressure is almost always wrong (with some direct and immediate exceptions).

True, and your unvaccinated kid would be on the hook to take reasonable precautions against spreading the virus - same with anyone visiting with the vulnerable. That’s just common sense.

That makes sense - “understanding the situation” isn’t the same thing as compelling someone to get vaccinated. Laying out the consequences of a choice is always the best way to help someone make an informed decision.

All vaccines should have a direct benefit to the vaccinated. However, we really don’t have the information to assess who can get “long Covid” (any more than we understand how some have side effects from the vaccine). There’s a lot we simply don’t know and won’t for awhile. It’s best, IMO, to share the facts and respectfully allow others to make their own choices.

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It’s fine to have that sentiment and to debate the benefits vigorously with our friends or on an online forum. Compelling a high school or college kid is a different matter. We as parents have to be careful not to abuse our position (which comes with some privilege w/r/t authority, deference, respect, etc.).

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We would never pressure our kids to make a decision. Instead, we have a conversation to make sure they are considering all sides. My son mentioned the “people my age don’t normally die from it” and we reminded him that getting vaccinated was not just about protecting himself, but also about protecting his community.

He had forgotten that piece of it, and it’s one of the pieces that we need to emphasize to young people.

My son has a role model WRT altruism. Four years ago this month, my husband donated his bone marrow to a 13 y/o girl, a complete stranger, who had leukemia. It was a time consuming medical procedure, at a very inconvenient time for him (our daughter’s 18th birthday and her high school graduation) but saved the girl’s life. Though we have never met her, she is off to college this year!


However, we do know that the risks of COVID-19 after-effects are far higher than the risks of the vaccines, even though we may not know beforehand who specifically will have the longer term undesired effects of either.

Is he not aware that even people of his age commonly have worrisome after-effects of COVID-19 like breathing difficulties, heart issues, loss of taste or smell, etc.?

Maybe. Like deaths, the cases of “long-covid” are correlated with age and underlying health issues, and then also possibly being female. That’s what the studies are suggesting. Yes, there are young seemingly-healthy people who have gotten long-Covid. But they are not the norm. One can easily look up problems with the vaccine (by age category and gender) on the CDC’s VAERS website. For my age group (and considering my own health issues and my gender) I can make a great case for me to be vaccinated. But it’s looking to be a different story for a 20 year old male with no underlying health issues (as one counter-example). I think many of our young people “get” this. Edit to add: it’s going to jibe with what they notice among their friends and classmates who have gotten the virus.

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@ucbalumnus yes, we had a conversation about it. My son actually did have Covid already, last summer, and was asymptomatic, so he was partially basing his thoughts on his personal experience and that of every one of the young people he knows personally who also had Covid (none of whom has had any long term side effects). But unlike many kids his age, he knows that he doesn’t know everything and is willing to learn more and then make a more informed decision, which he did after we discussed it.


Actually vaccinated elderly people have died from COVID. There are plenty of other examples.

Sequelae in Adults at 6 Months After COVID-19 Infection | Infectious Diseases | JAMA Network Open | JAMA Network found that “Among participants with COVID-19, persistent symptoms were reported by 17 of 64 patients (26.6%) aged 18 to 39 years, 25 of 83 patients (30.1%) aged 40 to 64 years, and 13 of 30 patients (43.3%) aged 65 years and older.” (emphasis added)

Perhaps not the majority of cases, but 1 out of 4 chance of long term undesired effects is not an attractive lottery to play.

Also, the antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) that seems to be a concern among the vaccine-reluctant is probably a greater risk after natural infection, which results in antibodies to the virus’ nucleaoproteins that are more likely to lead to ADE (the vaccines only generate antibodies to the virus’ spike protein).

Also, there is another question of convenience even for those who are willing to play COVID-19 lottery. Is it preferable to:

  1. Get vaccinated at a time of one’s convenience and not worry about COVID-19 afterward.
  2. Not get vaccinated, but continue to behave in a virus-paranoid manner indefinitely to avoid COVID-19.
  3. Not get vaccinated, but go back to normal and not worry about COVID-19, although getting it may come at an inconvenient time (like final exam time in school).
  4. Variolate with COVID-19 to get it over with instead of waiting to get it at a possibly inconvenient time (as was often done in the pre-vaccine (against anything) era).


I posted a while back about my mother-in-law’s Easter gathering. I have a new story. My Aunt had a Bible study at her small condo recently. Nobody wearing masks. Four people tested positive including my Aunt (in her 70s) who was very sick (and still is) to the point she needed the antibody infusion. A lady at the Bible study was coughing and later tested positive, so we know who was the spreader. Of the four positives, none vaccinated. The only negative person was the only person who was vaccinated. The sixth person did not get a test and I’m not sure if she was ever symptomatic, so I can’t presume positive or negative.

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Was the sixth person vaccinated, not vaccinated, or unknown?

She was not vaccinated. The only vaccinated person out of the six people was the only confirmed negative.