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Educate People About Vaccine, Don’t Require It

There is little support amongst Democrats or Republicans in New York state for legislation that would make a COVID-19 vaccination mandatory.

That’s the right call — though everyone should be worried about the percentage of New Yorkers who say they have no interest in taking a vaccine. A recent Siena College poll said roughly two-thirds of New York residents will definitely or probably be vaccinated.

“A strong majority of New Yorkers of every stripe – regardless of party, region, race, age, religion, gender, or even who they supported in the presidential election – say they will definitely or at least probably get a COVID19 vaccine if it’s approved by the FDA,” Siena pollster Steve Greenberg said.

Of course, that still roughly one-third of New Yorkers have no interest in protecting themselves against COVID-19. That’s unfortunate, but Cuomo and his fellow Democrats in the state Legislature would be wise to focus on education first. Let the lesson have been learned from November’s carping about lack of enforcement of in-person gathering limits. Shortly after Thanksgiving, the governor admitted there was no real way for the state to enforce the 10-person limit in a home.

That doesn’t mean the governor was wrong in wanting to limit the number of people in a home. His aim was right, his method was not.

Let’s not make the same mistake with the COVID-19 vaccine. Ideally, this debate will resolve itself organically.

Concerns some may have over the vaccine’s safety could very well be answered as the first wave of vaccines make their way through nursing homes and essential workers. Rather than compulsory vaccination, perhaps the state should consider offering some sort of incentive to get those on the fence to take the vaccine. Regardless, this is the time for education about vaccines so that people understand why they are safe and how important widespread vaccination is to get life back to normal.

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