University of Delaware COVID-19 Booster Mandate

January 10, 2022

An Open Letter to President Dennis Assanis and members of the University of Delaware Board of Trustees

We, the University of Delaware family – parents, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends –  provide this urgent statement of concern to you, to request a time critical modification to the University of Delaware’s COVID-19 booster vaccine mandate.

We appreciate that the booster mandate and new procedures for the spring semester stem from the good intention to prevent severe illness. But as with any public health policy, many factors — scientific, ethical, and legal — must be considered and weighed. We are concerned that the University of Delaware, 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 for this demographic, raising serious ethical and legal questions.

There are very serious safety concerns about the recent vaccine booster mandate, as a third booster shot could prove dangerous and irreparably harmful in this group of individuals already immune, either by vaccination, COVID infection, or both.  However, there is an increasing amount of data that strongly suggests that boosters will not provide meaningful or durable mitigation of community spread, particularly with Omicron. Of much more urgent concern is the mounting evidence that the risks associated with boosting young people outweigh benefit.

There are at least 4 studies, from different parts of the globe (UK, Israel, US, Canada) all showing that the mRNA vaccines have an increased myocarditis signal in males <40.  In fact, the Oxford University study showed that individuals who received more than one dose of Moderna or two doses of Pfizer COVID vaccines, had a greater incidence of cardiovascular events than those who had COVID.  The concern is so great that several European countries, including Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland have reversed course on vaccinating individuals under 30 or limiting dose schedules to one shot.

The University’s policy completely ignores the impact of natural immunity and its superior performance to vaccines and does not address the fact that students could be exposed to faculty or staff who aren’t vaccinated since they do not currently fall under a mandate.  The policy also ignores an individual serological evaluation which shows that COVID-19 immunity is already present, as recently recognized by NCAA.  In fact, the University of Delaware has confirmed to parents via email that antibody testing showing COVID-19 immunity will not be accepted in lieu of a booster.

Most importantly, although the intent in imposing a booster vaccine mandate at the University of Delaware may be to protect the community, the CDC, WHO, and a number of national health agencies have confirmed that vaccines and boosters will not stop the transmission of COVID-19, making this mandate medically unnecessary.  The CDC has also recommended that adults with potential increased risk of COVID-19 infection may receive a booster, based on their individual benefits and risks.  A mandate removes all consideration of the individual acknowledged by the CDC.  Also, the unexpected announcement of the booster mandate during finals week, after many had paid for spring semester, and the threat of being forced to leave the university if a student does not comply, adds unnecessarily to the emotional distress students have experienced over the past two years of this pandemic.  

With this letter of petition, we ask that The University of Delaware urgently rescind its booster mandate policy and instead provide a rational and ethical approach which respects the individual and their medical decisions in consultation with their physicians, instead of a “one-size-fits-all” mandate.

Respectfully,

Parents, Students, and friends of the University of Delaware    

 

Special thanks to Hooman Noorchashm MD, Ph.D. who authored the Boston College COVID-19 Booster Mandate petition and whose original writing inspired this petition.


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