Ops Blog | Iowa should focus on getting people vaccinated

The Daily Iowan Opinions staff discusses Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ recent law about vaccine exemptions.


Jeff Sigmund

The Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine vial on Tuesday, Dec.22, 2020.

DI Opinions Staff

Hannah Pinski (Amplify and Opinions Editor): Well, to no surprise, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has struck down again against COVID-19 requirements. She recently signed a law that lets Iowa workers seek religious and medical exemptions and guarantees unemployment benefits for those who are fired for refusing a vaccine.

Shahab Khan (Opinions Columnist): Well, as a hardcore proponent of the social welfare state, part of me thinks it is a good idea to help people in a trying time of need. The other part of me believes that rewarding unvaccinated individuals is bad policy.

Yassie Buchanan (Opinions Columnist): I find it interesting that currently 55 percent of Iowa’s population is fully vaccinated, with about a third of Iowa’s population still not having received a single dose of the vaccine. Shouldn’t we be focusing more on getting people vaccinated than helping the unvaccinated?Shahab: I agree with Yassie, vaccinating individuals should be the priority, we shouldn’t be wasting resources on people who are against getting the vaccine.

Hannah: I think this move is very contradictory. Reynolds has said that she believes that the vaccine is the best defense against COVID-19, yet continues to oppose mandates. In fact, about a third of the state’s population isn’t vaccinated and a lot of the state is experiencing a high level of community spread.

Yassie: Also, kids are just now able to get the vaccine. In September, children up to 17 accounted for 29 percent of COVID-19 cases. With the number of COVID-19 cases we have seen in children, Reynolds should be focusing on getting more of this population vaccinated. Especially since only 7.5 percent of people under 18 are fully vaccinated at this point.

Shahab: I agree with that sentiment. What we’ll likely see is children getting vaccinated only if their parents chose to — unless schools require it like they do for MMR.

Hannah: To be fair, this move doesn’t come as a surprise. Why should we expect anything more from someone who banned mask mandates and vaccine passports and never shut down the state during the heart of the pandemic?

Yassie: I completely agree, Reynolds has not shown any genuine leadership when it has come to the pandemic.

Shahab: If Reynolds was to show any real leadership, she would have taken the initiative to reach out to vaccine skeptical communities and helped convince them to get vaccinated. Alas, she is more worried about defending a dangerous version of freedom.

Hannah: According New York Times data, all of Iowa’s counties are reported as being high risk or extremely high risk for COVID-19 transmission.

Yassie: I can understand how some people who have health restrictions may benefit from a policy like this, but it’s unlikely a third of the state would need this type of exemption.

Shahab: Once again Yassie, you make a great point. Financially helping the immunocompromised is a must, especially since they are the most at-risk population. But the best way to protect the immunocompromised is getting vaccinated. Reynolds has shown that she is not interested in doing that.


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.