Insofar as vaccine passports go, Louisiana higher education remains largely stuck on stupid entering the new academic year, although with interesting and telling exceptions.
Despite the lack of efficacy behind the strategy to have all employees and on-campus attendees vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus as a means to curtail its impact, the University of Louisiana System and the Southern University System again will mandate this, while the Louisiana Community and Technical College System appears to do the same. However, the Louisiana State University System has given its campuses discretion whether to do so, and the main Baton Rouge campus, its health sciences campuses in New Orleans and Shreveport, and LSU Alexandria won’t.
Nothing has changed in the past year to add any scientific rationale to this required vaccination mandate; if anything, the extremely weak case has eroded further. Consider the flawed formal reasoning why to do so: vaccinations cut down on spread to reduce suffering, if not to save lives.
Except that vaccination doesn’t prevent transmission. It may help to reduce maladies triggered by a vaccinated person becoming infected with the virus, but it merely acts as a prophylactic for that person and doesn’t eradicate the virus in him, leaving it free to jump elsewhere.
Further, and very predictably following related viruses, as time goes on vaccinations become less effective even in this way, because of the constant mutations and dwindling effectiveness as time passes after a shot. By the start of the year, less than half of vaccinated individuals were protected from infection by the omicron strain. Sooner rather than later, a coronavirus vaccination will be as effective as the seasonal flu, with so many strains circulating that manufacturers will have to guess which strain will become dominant in the near future, try to come up with something that works, and hope that it even will work on 20 percent of cases.
In short, vaccination won’t do much to stop the spread. Further, in almost every instance those who chose not to become vaccinated will be the ones to suffer, if they do, and nobody else, so it simply isn’t the business of the state to tell them what they must inject into their bodies in order to access a state service such as higher education that they subsidize with their tax dollars. The extremely small, almost nonexistent, number of employees and students who would otherwise choose vaccination but can’t for other medical reasons can employ nonpharmaceutical interventions that would do a much better job of preventing spread than relying on others coerced to vaccination.
So, it’s all political theater by higher education to display a desired level of sensitivity. This is confirmed by the exceptions in the LSU System.
LSU, which still strongly urges vaccination but dropped the requirement and the alternative regular testing as a substitute, began facing the music only weeks after imposing such requirements last year at this time when it dropped these regulations for campus visitors to athletic events and the like, because of public backlash and complexity in administering this. The gaping loophole – allowing a huge swath of individuals on campus not vaccinated nor testing negatively while forcing employees and students to follow this supposedly for their own safety – exposed the blatant hypocrisy of it all.
But a passport also had negative implications for attracting out-of-state students, many of who lived in states that wouldn’t put up with this nonsense, and along with Grambling State University LSU attracts a higher proportion of on-campus students than any other campus (GSU has a large proportion of legacy students from out-of-state who will attend regardless of requirements). Similarly, to be competitive with other medical schools those campuses can’t afford to discourage out-of-state enrollees, plus an adverse court ruling to a private graduate medical college in the state on the issue may have played a role in their becoming exceptions. And LSUA has a large proportion of online students, reducing the impact of a vaccine passport. (So does my employer LSU Shreveport, yet we persist with the requirement for some reason.)
Thus, these opt-outs for practical reasons only compound the bankruptcy of passport requirements at other institutions, revealing more decisiveness their hollowness. Maybe by the beginning of 2023 the posturing will end at these others to halt this intrusiveness nonsense into the lives of consenting adults.