This letter is written on behalf of concerned family members of students, specifically of Virginia Tech and Radford University. We are respectfully asking you to reconsider the COVID vaccine mandate for students. Please consider the following information as related to COVID vaccines:
1- Experimental – all three available vaccines are experimental. The CDC fact sheets for each vaccine specifically state that the vaccine is unapproved and ongoing clinical trials evaluating risks, side effects and effectiveness. (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/eua/) It is ethically and legally wrong to require anyone to participate in a clinical trial. Signing a consent to receive an EUA vaccine does not confer informed consent. Informed consent includes a full discussion of risks and benefits and the right to not be coerced into participating.
At a CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meeting in August 2020, ACIP Executive Secretary Amanda Cohn, MD stated:
“… that under an Emergency Use Authorization, an EUA, vaccines are not allowed to be mandatory. So, early in this vaccination phase, individuals will have to be consented and they won’t be able to be mandated.” (US Centers for Disease Control (September 2020), August 2020 ACIP Meeting – COVID-19 vaccine supply & next steps. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/videos/low-res/acipaug2020/Covid-19Supply-NextSteps_3_LowRes.mp4 (@1:14:40))
2- Risk versus Benefit – According to Johns Hopkins (https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html) and the CDC, the death rate for COVID-19 is 0.017%. With a 99% recovery rate in all age groups, it should be the right of each individual to come to their own conclusion of risk versus benefit for their body and health.
3- Treatment options – An article published in The American Journal of Medicine states that safe and effective COVID treatment is available. Hospitalizations and death are both reduced using the treatment algorithm given in the article . (McCullough, Peter A et al. “Pathophysiological Basis and Rationale for Early Outpatient Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Infection.” The American journal of medicine vol. 134,1 (2021): 16-22. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2020.07.003)
4- Side-effects – as expected with an experimental agent, side-effects are being reported. The side-effect of myocarditis is most notable in the age group being forced to comply with university mandates. The CDC has reported this, along with Radiology Case Reports (Albert, E., Aurigemma, G., Saucedo, J., & Gerson, D. S. (2021). Myocarditis following COVID-19 vaccination. Radiology Case Reports, 16(8), 2142–2145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.radcr.2021.05.033).
UMass Medical School of Cardiology has reported a link between COVID vaccination and myocarditis (UMass Medical School cardiology experts report link between mild heart problem, COVID vaccine. University of Massachusetts Medical School. (2021, June 9). https://www.umassmed.edu/news/news-archives/2021/06/umass-medical-school-cardiology-experts-report-link-between-mild-heart-problem-covid-vaccine/.
The CDC is convening for an emergency meeting on June 18, 2021 to address the side-effect of myocarditis. “So far, the CDC has identified 226 reports that might meet the agency’s “working case definition” of myocarditis and pericarditis following the shots, the agency disclosed Thursday. The vast majority have recovered, but 41 had ongoing symptoms, 15 are still hospitalized, and 3 are in the intensive care unit.” (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-19-vaccine-cdc-meeting-myocarditis-heart-inflammation/)
New myocarditis information is coming forth daily. This begs the question, if the COVID recovery rate is greater than 99% for this age group, why risk the potential side-effects from an experimental vaccine?
5- Liability – pharmaceutical companies are shielded from liability related to injuries and damages caused by their experimental agents. However, employers, schools, or any other entity or person who mandates experimental vaccines on any human being is not protected from liability for any resulting harm. This opens the door for potential litigation against universities. (https://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/legal/prepact/Pages/default.aspx, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/16/covid-vaccine-side-effects-compensation-lawsuit.html)
Unfortunately, the pandemic has become political, however this letter is not. The public has consistently been led to “trust the science” and I implore readers to research the science presented here.
Please do not label this letter as “anti-vax.” COVID vaccination is appropriate in vulnerable populations, but this requires a case by case discussion on risk versus benefit. Healthy young adults are not a vulnerable population. Furthermore, if those vulnerable populations have been vaccinated, there should be no need for a healthy person to require vaccination as those considered vulnerable should already be protected.
We understand that religious and medical exemptions will apply; however, there are individuals that may not object for religious reasons nor have a medical condition, but simply do not want to receive an EUA product which is, by definition, experimental and investigational.
In the spirit of VT’s motto, “Ut Prosim”, and RU’s “dedication to the creation and dissemination of knowledge”, let us serve and educate students with sound, evidence-based decisions, while ensuring that we protect each individual’s autonomy to make personal healthcare decisions free of fear and coercion.
Davis is a 1991 Virginia Tech graduate, a retired teacher, and the business manager of a law office. She lives in Radford.