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End All College Covid-19 Vaccination Mandates


It is time to end Covid-19 vaccine mandates for college students. Colleges and universities are beginning to drop masking and testing requirements, yet they continue to mandate Covid-19 vaccines for students as a condition of matriculation. 

To mandate a medical intervention is to violate the fundamental right to medical choice. Therefore, the decision to mandate must be based on nothing less than incontrovertible medical necessity. In the case of Covid-19 college vaccine mandates, that standard cannot be met based on current science and real-life experience.

In early 2021, colleges and universities started to consider how student vaccination would be part of their Covid-19 mitigation policies. Following CDC guidance, they began to strongly recommend and then mandate vaccination as a requirement of matriculation by the fall of 2021. The decision to mandate was based primarily on two main arguments: to prevent community spread in order to protect the vulnerable, and to protect students from serious illness, hospitalization, or death from infection. 

The 1,000+ colleges imposing mandates did not justify this drastic measure by sharing a transparent data-driven risk-benefit analysis. Instead, they justified the mandates with mere talking points such as “safe and effective” and “crucial steps to protect vulnerable colleagues.”

No data was given on the risk to the student-aged population of severe illness from infection compared to the risk of vaccine-induced adverse events. Colleges and universities did not provide disclaimers making students aware of the known risks associated with the vaccines, or whether remedy would be available to students in the event of a vaccine injury or to their families in the event of death. 

Rochelle Walensky confirmed as early as July 2021 that the vaccines did not prevent infection or transmission, yet colleges and universities continue to use the falsehood that student vaccination protects the vulnerable and prevents community spread. 

As early as August 5, 2021, Dartmouth College reported a “sudden rise in cases” (Delta) in “fully vaccinated students and employees,” confirming that vaccination did not offer community protection. Cornell had a surge of more than 900 cases (Omicron) in their nearly fully vaccinated student population in December. These two examples are not outliers.

In short, vaccination does not prevent community outbreak, even on campuses with greater than 95% vaccination rates. The argument that students must take the vaccine to protect others is invalid.

What about protecting otherwise healthy individual students? It turns out that this population has an extremely low risk of serious illness from Covid-19, and a near-zero risk of death, even if unvaccinated. 

Students do not unequivocally need this medical intervention for their own protection and as such, it must be their choice. To require them to have it is ill-advised and unethical at best, especially when the intervention is still being administered under EUA, and when it is becoming increasingly clear that there are serious vaccine-induced risks in this population specifically.

Regarding injury and death caused by vaccines, colleges and universities would be wise to consider the Cumulative Analysis of Post-authorization Adverse Event Reports, recently released from Pfizer. A careful reading will show that in the first 59 days of distribution of the BNT162b2 vaccine, there were 1,232 vaccine-associated deaths reported, and 42,086 case reports (25,379 medically confirmed) of injury or side effects. 

Because Pfizer redacted the number of vaccines distributed during this time, the rate of injury and death cannot be calculated. Still, the death numbers alone should be enough to immediately suspend all mandates and proceed with caution. Recall that the first mass vaccination program undertaken with the Polio vaccine was abandoned after killing 10 children.

Where there is risk, there must be choice. And there is indeed risk here. 

Given that the two main justifications for violating students’ medical rights by mandating Covid-19 vaccinations are now scientifically insupportable and thus ethically dubious, why do colleges and universities continue to mandate? Not one institution has given a thorough and scientific answer to this question when confronted (with sound data) by stakeholders.

Colleges and universities cannot continue to ethically or safely continue vaccine mandates based on current science. 

Therefore, they must end these mandates immediately. If they do not, they open themselves to suspicion that the push to vaccinate has been motivated by something other than student health.

Note: The issue of immunity from infection is not taken up here, because the argument is that all vaccine mandates must go. In that scenario, a student can take his immunity status into consideration appropriately. However, it should be noted that the overwhelming percentage of colleges fail to recognize natural immunity.

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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  • Lucia Sinatra

    Lucia is a recovering corporate securities attorney. After becoming a mother, Lucia turned her attention to fighting inequities in public schools in California for students with learning disabilities. She co-founded to help fight college vaccine mandates.

    View all posts
  • Joni Ruller McGary

    Joni McGary is a co-founder of and the mother of a college junior. She is a former entrepreneur, and worked in business development in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.

    View all posts

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