Readers’ Forum: 2/23/21

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Should the COVID-19 vaccine be mandated?

With around a million vaccines rolling out a day, discussions have arisen about whether this vaccine should be mandatory for all citizens to take before the country can reopen. Although it is clearly unconstitutional to enforce a nationwide vaccine mandate, there are still other ways in which we can be practically forced to take the vaccine with fear of being ostracized from society.

It is not too far-fetched to envision a near future where we would need to carry a vaccination card to return to our everyday lives. This may start with universities, like BYU, saying such requirements are necessary to attend in-person classes. Next, we’d see airports, concerts and amusement parks all requiring proof of vaccination to enter. But why would it stop there? Who’s to say that next, it won’t be businesses, supermarkets and public transportation? Supporters of such regulations will say, “if you don’t want to follow the rules then don’t go shopping,” or “make your own businesses.”

Some see the record-breaking production of the vaccine as a miracle directly from God, while others see it as a rushed product of untrustworthy bureaucrats. In America, we believe that everyone should exercise their own agency through prayer and study, especially when it comes to their own health. For example, my grandmother has decided to take the vaccine, while my grandfather, who already had COVID-19, has decided that he doesn’t want an experimental vaccine. We must allow all Americans to make that decision, about their own health, without fear of being cast out of society.

Derek VanBuskirk
Palm Springs, California

The need for therapy after trauma

I am recovering from a rollover car accident, where the car I was in flipped over four times. Because all the passengers were wearing seatbelts, the only physical damage that was done was three broken bones in my right arm. But the psychological damage would take much more effort to heal than a quick surgery at the hospital. Over the last 20 years, stigmas surrounding mental health have begun to decrease. That being said, there is still a ways to go when it comes to access to mental health resources. One of these resources that is vital to overcoming PTSD — specifically trauma related to car accidents — is therapy. Personally, I know how influential this therapy really can be. Therapy should be covered by all health insurance plans, so that cost is not a deterrent when victims of car accidents decide to seek help.

The Anxiety Depression Association found that “more than eight million Americans between the age of 18 and older have PTSD.” This is such a common emotion, yet it is not covered by all health insurance. According to a telephone poll done by the American Psychological Association, “87% of those polled pointed to lack of insurance coverage as a barrier to seeking treatment, and 81% pointed to cost concerns.” It is not that the majority of people are not interested in therapy, it is a cost barrier that arises when we begin to connect the dots.

Before going to see a therapist, I had PTSD symptoms for weeks after my accident. I would often break down, experience flashbacks, cry in the car when I had to leave, and even found it difficult to watch TV because of the frequent car commercials. But once I started to get help from a professional, I realized that I simply needed to talk out these issues with someone who would listen. It was not that my parents weren’t listening, but my therapist (his name is Robbie) knew how to ask the hard questions, get to the root of my fears, and how to effectively treat them through the different activities that we did together. The sessions with Robbie were ultimately what coaxed me out of my reservations to drive again. This was the biggest step in my mental health journey because it had been months since I had even considered getting behind the wheel.

The effects of a car accident can be lasting and change your whole perspective on life. I know because it happened to me. But, with the right healthcare, I was able to overcome these traumatic experiences and distance myself from fear and anxiety that had been my crutch for so long. Everyone should be entitled to proper and necessary healthcare, especially when it comes to mental health. Victims of car accidents who feel as though therapy would be beneficial to their healing process should not have to choose otherwise based on cost.

Eve Black
Naperville, Illinois

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