More than 100 colleges and universities across the United States are currently asking students to get a Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine in order to attend classes in the fall. Public figures, physicians, and professional organizations have spoken out about the mandates, criticizing them as breaches of fundamental student rights.
On his Tucker Carlson Tonight show, host Carlson stated that mandating vaccines would lead to unregulated government control over citizens. “If the authorities are permitted to control a health care decision this intimate — if they can force you and your children to take a vaccine you don’t want and are afraid of — what can’t they do? Nothing. They’ll have total power over your body and your mind, forever. What’s the limit to their power? There isn’t one,” he said on the show.
Millions of students affected
“Consistent with the growing consensus of colleges and universities across the country, UMass Lowell will require all residential and commuter students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the beginning of the fall semester to live, learn or visit any UMass Lowell campus or property,” the University of Massachusetts said in a statement.
According to reports from AP and CNN, universities such as Cornell, Rutgers, Northeastern, Brown, Drew, Washington State, and the University of Portland have established vaccine mandates. Virginia Tech has reportedly left the inoculation decision up to students because the vaccines are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and have only been given emergency use authorization (EUA).
In total, over 2.4 million students could be affected, and many colleges are requiring the jab even if students previously had COVID-19. H.C. Tenenbaum, professor of laboratory medicine and pathobiology at the University of Toronto, told The Epoch Times that students who have a history of COVID-19 infection should be exempt from vaccination because naturally acquired immunity is “superior” to any immunity that COVID-19 vaccines can provide.
Professional organizations speak out
According to America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLDS), a non-partisan, nonprofit organization founded by board-certified emergency physician Simone Gold, MD, JD, FABEM, COVID-19 vaccines should be voluntary. The website states, “AFLDS physicians strongly object to any persons being coerced, mandated or forced to take any experimental medication, whether it is labeled a vaccine, drug, therapeutic, modality, agent etc.”
“Our scientific recommendations as to who should consider the experimental COVID-19 vaccines, currently in investigational stages only, are contained within the White Paper. Federal law, per the FDA, prohibits any persons from being coerced to take the experimental COVID-19 vaccine.”
In addition, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) issued an open letter from physicians to universities detailing 15 reasons why schools should reverse the vaccine mandates. According to the Nuremberg code from World War II, a set of research ethics guidelines for human experiments, individuals are required “to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force.”
The letter reads, “these policies discriminate against individuals who aren’t candidates for this vaccine, have pre-existing conditions, previous COVID-19 disease, cite religious objections, or are otherwise exercising their freewill choosing not to participate in this optional vaccine experiment.”
“The COVID-19 vaccines on the market in the U.S., mRNA (Moderna and Pfizer) and DNA (Johnson & Johnson – Janssen), have caused notable side effects, pathology and even death… These adverse reactions result in absence from school and work, hospital visits, and even loss of life.”
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) data, over 4,000 deaths have been reported after COVID-19 vaccination, and 192,954 adverse event reports have been submitted through May 7, 2021.
Scientific and legal pushback
A study published in late March by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) stated that immune cells of people who had acquired immunity after getting COVID-19 were able to recognize “virtually all mutations and variants” of coronaviruses. The study asserted that the acquired immunity “should offer protection” against coronavirus variants.
Another NIH report showed that 95 percent of people who have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus developed durable immunity to the virus for a period of up to eight months. “Levels of T cells for the virus also remained high after infection. Six months after symptom onset, 92% of participants had CD4+ T cells that recognized the virus. These cells help coordinate the immune response. About half the participants had CD8+ T cells, which kill cells that are infected by the virus,” according to the report.
Robert Destro, law professor at the Catholic University of America, told The College Fix that the law would be on the side of students who wish to remain unvaccinated if they have to resort to challenging universities in the courts. “HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) restricts their authority to require disclosure of health details,” Destro said.
“There may also be [Americans with Disabilities Act] issues for those whose health would not permit vaccination, and religious freedom issues for those with moral issues with either taking a vaccination or in the manner in which it was produced,” he continued.
Destro said that the vaccines may not be necessary for college students because their age group is less susceptible to COVID-19 disease. A study by Paul Martin Kempen, President of AAPS, found that out of the 103,339 deaths analyzed, only 125, or 0.121 percent, fell within the college age group of 15 to 24.
At present, several states exempt students from inoculation based on religious or personal beliefs. On April 20, Drexel University published an update on their website affirming that they would allow “limited medical and religious exceptions” to their vaccine mandate.
Several states, including Florida, Texas and Wyoming, have banned all businesses and private entities from mandating COVID-19 vaccine passports. This poses a legal challenge to universities planning to impose vaccine requirements on students. George L. Hanbury II, college president of Nova Southeastern University in Florida, told AP that they will “respect the laws” of Florida.
With reporting by Arvind Datta.