Ending the Debate: Should People Disclose Their Vaccine Status?


Writer Jack Margolin offers his take on whether or not people should disclose their vaccination status to the general public.

Jack Margolin

We have officially been in a pandemic since March 11th, 2020, which is nearly 600 days. 600 days we have spent scared for our lives, listening to terrible COVID-19 stories, and watching the death toll rise. Even though we now have three safe, free and effective vaccines, we are still seeing thousands of deaths per day. According to a study from Kaiser Family Foundation, 90,000 Covid deaths since June could have been prevented if the patients had received one of the three COVID-19 vaccines. 

If someone is asked their vaccine status, it is entirely within their right to decline to answer. The same applies, however, for the one asking the question: it is not a violation of any laws to do so. In an interview with an Ohio CBS, Affiliate Attorney Jerome Phillips of Wittenberg and Phillips explained asking someone if they have received one of the vaccines does not violate any laws, including HIPAA, which many people cite when asked. The argument centers around the fact that the person responding to the question possesses the information and it is within their jurisdiction what they decide to do with the information.

While no one is required to say whether they have been vaccinated in a casual conversation, I believe it’s important to be honest and not avoid the question. Some people, even if they are vaccinated, are at high risk and do not want to take any unnecessary chances. 

I believe there are other people, particularly those with a large platform, who should really take disclosing their vaccine status to heart. If someone, whether it’s an athlete, actor, etc, has a big influence on their supporters, it’s in everyone’s best interest if they encourage vaccinations as to minimize the spread of the virus. Some say that celebrities should not try to “force” others into vaccines, as it is a personal decision, which is a flawed argument for many reasons. First, it contradicts the very definition of personal: “of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else.” One does not have the freedom to endanger others. Many messages have been spreading across the internet, including one saying that “you’re vaccinated, so why should you care if I am?” But, science points to the fact that if more people are vaccinated, the the virus is less likely to spread. In addition, the more time we allow the virus to circulate and mutate, the more likely there will be vaccine-resistant strains, and the less progress we will make in our return to normalcy. If celebrities continue to dodge one of the most asked questions of the current time—vaccination status—we also risk more people not taking the matter seriously as many pay attention to celebrity’s word.

Although we have made significant progress in ending the pandemic, we still have a long way to go before we can declare it “over,” or even contained. I implore everyone who is able to get vaccinated as soon as possible and to educate anyone who is hesitant, to protect yourself, the ones around you, and so we can, as a world, finally put this pandemic behind us.