Ithaca College COVID-19 Booster Mandate Opposition

URGENT MESSAGE TO INTERIM PRESIDENT CORNISH AND ITHACA BOARD OF TRUSTEES:


This letter and the sentiments enclosed represent students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff of Ithaca College, along with prospective students and their families, and supporters within the Ithaca community. While we appreciate Ithaca's efforts at keeping students and the Ithaca community safe during this pandemic, as concerned members of the Bomber family, we are writing to express strong opposition to Ithaca College's Covid-19 booster mandate. New data is available about both the vaccine and the virus since that mandate was issued. We urge you to change the “mandate” to a “recommendation” based on the factors outlined below.

While the booster mandate is an attempt to keep the campus safe, any public health policy must consider many factors, including scientific, ethical, and legal. We are concerned that Ithaca College, in issuing this booster mandate, has overlooked recent and evolving scientific data regarding the vaccine and the virus that makes a booster mandate inappropriate and unnecessary, raising serious ethical and legal questions.

The CDC's own data highlights that vaccination, even with the booster, has very limited capability in stopping virus transmission. A similar conclusion has been reached by CDC’s research: vaccinated people seem to transmit Covid-19 similarly to unvaccinated people. The virus will continue to be transmitted among our highly vaccinated campuses. Ithaca is fully aware that vaccines and booster injections cannot stop the spread of Covid-19.

As so many students test positive, they are, in essence, receiving a natural booster based on the very latest variants of the virus. And yet, Ithaca is ignoring the natural immunity in these students and mandating a booster injection based on older variants, which Ithaca knows is ineffective at stopping the spread of Covid-19 in the Ithaca College community. This decision is counter to science. Why require a booster injection that is ineffective and potentially dangerous, for students who are naturally contracting and fighting off a virus that many scientists believe is becoming more endemic than pandemic?

Mounting evidence points to serious risks from exposure to the Covid-19 vaccines. The latest scientific research shows that Covid-19 vaccine side effects such as myocarditis, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, and pericarditis are more common in young people than we think (see references 1-5 listed below).
Recently, an Oxford-conducted study of men under the age of 40 demonstrated that the risk of myocarditis after one dose mRNA exceeds the risk of myocarditis from an actual Covid-19 infection. Even more alarmingly, the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) indicates that there were over 15,000 Covid-19 vaccine related death cases in 2021, compared with the previous average of 158 vaccine related deaths per year (Pre-Covid-19), in the context of a yearly total of 280 million injections and 70 different vaccines. This data shows that, compared to other vaccines, Covid-19 injections carry around 100 times the risk of death.

Our students have a near zero percent chance of severe illness or death for their age group. Omicron appears to be little more than a bad cold for college age students. Data now shows that the vaccine itself can pose more risk to young people than the virus itself, and repeated injections only increase those risks without any discernible reduction in the spread of the virus.

All students are individuals, with unique medical, psychological, and emotional needs. Indeed, as the CDC has recognized, “people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks” (emphasis added). With its blanket mandate, Ithaca College seems to be interpreting eligibility as a directive, ignoring both the science and CDC’s own guidance regarding individual benefits and risks.

For many students, the coercive nature of a third injection, after being told that they needed only two injections to attend Ithaca College, is contributing to psychological distress and emotional disorientation about future academic, social, and professional potential. The power that the college holds over the students futures is unethical at best. Non compliance means lost opportunities. Additionally, the promise of normalcy if vaccinated has now been shattered as restrictions and more shots are being enforced. At this point in the pandemic, after nearly two years of following constantly changing rules, our students should have a voice and control over whether they receive additional doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Considering new data on the virus and the vaccine, including reduced quarantine and isolation times and new guidelines about close contacts from the CDC as well as the WHO statement that healthy young children and young adults have no need to get a booster shot, the university may very well cause disability or death by imposing further vaccine requirements. That is why we believe the decision about whether a student should receive a third (or fourth or fifth) booster must be answered individually by each student, in consultation with a medical professional or doctor, rather than by school administrators.

Please do the right thing, and end this unnecessary and unethical mandate.


Additional References:
1. Intravenous injection of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine can induce acute myopericarditis in mouse model (Clin Infect Dis 2021 https://pubmed.ncbi.nih.gov/34406358)
2. The S1 protein of SARS-CoV-2 crosses the blood-brain barrier in mice (Nature Neuroscience 24, 368-378.)
3. SARS-CoV-2 spike impairs DNA damage repair and inhibits V(D)J recombination in vitro (Viruses 2021, 13 (10), 2056; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13102056)
4. Be aware of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein: There is more than meets the eyes (J Biol Regul Homeost Agents May-Jun 2021)
5. Risks of myocarditis, pericarditis, and cardiac arrhythmias associated with COVID-19 vaccination or SARS-CoV-2 infection (Nature Medicine 2021 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-021-01630-0.pdf)
pubmed.ncbi.nih.gov
pubmed.ncbi.nih.gov


Additional References:

1. Intravenous injection of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine can induce acute myopericarditis in mouse model (Clin Infect Dis 2021 https://pubmed.ncbi.nih.gov/34406358)

2. The S1 protein of SARS-CoV-2 crosses the blood-brain barrier in mice (Nature Neuroscience 24, 368-378.)

3. SARS-CoV-2 spike impairs DNA damage repair and inhibits V(D)J recombination in vitro (Viruses 2021, 13 (10), 2056; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13102056)

4. Be aware of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein: There is more than meets the eyes (J Biol Regul Homeost Agents May-Jun 2021)

5. Risks of myocarditis, pericarditis, and cardiac arrhythmias associated with COVID-19 vaccination or SARS-CoV-2 infection (Nature Medicine 2021 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-021-01630-0.pdf)

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