Looking for answers
Letter to the Editor | Monday, February 7, 2022
I’ve spoken out against the COVID inoculations over the summer and last fall. Following announcement of the booster mandate, I began circulating a document attached to a petition that made an airtight case against the vaccine mandate and included important questions for the University to answer. Despite the monumental significance of Notre Dame’s COVID policies, the University has largely failed to address specific concerns of students and parents, content to hide behind the “CDC says so” excuse. Many no longer trust that the University has the students’ well-being in mind, and rightly so. Much confidence could be restored if our concerns were addressed. While the mandates have already been implemented and cannot be undone, it is never too late for transparency and accountability. That is why we are seeking to present out claims and questions in a public forum, and we appreciate The Observer’s allowing our doing so. In fact, these concerns will only become more relevant as information about the shots continues to come out. Notre Dame will not be able to escape accountability forever.
Again, you can find the full document and an update liked. Questions have been modified and added from the original.
I write to address concerns regarding the University of Notre Dame’s booster requirement. Because of the fundamental importance of informed consent in medical proceedings, I evaluate vaccine mandates under the legal standard of strict scrutiny that is applied to infringements upon fundamental constitutional rights. Under this standard, a regulation that infringes upon a fundamental right must be the least restrictive means to achieve a compelling government (or in this case university) interest. In the context of a vaccine mandate, this entails the following:
- The pathogen must be severe enough (at least for some individuals) for the university to have a compelling interest in blocking its transmission. And the vaccine mandate must be the least restrictive means of achieving the compelling interest (protection of those at severe risk from the pathogen).
- The vaccine must demonstrate substantial efficacy in blocking the transmission of the pathogen.
- The vaccine must clearly provide all individuals required to take it substantially more benefit than harm. I take it as an obvious moral principle that it is immoral to force someone to undergo a medical procedure that will cause them more harm than good.
Because the University is seeking to abrogate an individual’s right to consent to a medical procedure, it is incumbent upon it to demonstrate with overwhelming evidence that all three criteria are met. I argue that it has not. In fact, I present substantial evidence to the contrary. My argument is built on the following points:
- College students are at minimal risk of a severe, negative outcome from COVID-19. Moreover, those who consider themselves “at risk” can always avail themselves of the protection of the supposedly highly safe and effective vaccine. Forcing it upon others is unnecessary.
- The vaccine has been demonstrably proven to be ineffective in blocking transmission of SARS-CoV-2. To the extent that it provides any benefit, it is a private benefit against severe illness, not a public benefit in reducing community transmission. In fact, there is evidence that the shots eventually leak into negative efficacy. These problems are magnified with the Omicron variant.
- The vaccines are associated with a substantial number of adverse events, some of which particularly impact young adults. The surveillance systems used to monitor adverse events do not capture the totality of vaccine injury. It is far from clear that the vaccines provide more benefit than harm to young adults, and there is substantial evidence to the contrary.
- What criteria does the University use to evaluate and scrutinize any potential vaccine mandate? I present possible criteria in my document.
- If the vaccines are highly safe and effective, then individuals who wish to avail themselves of its protection can do so. What is the need for a mandate?
- The vaccines have been demonstrated by overwhelming to be ineffective in blocking transmission, as opposed to severe illness, of SARS-CoV-2. Whatever benefit it provides wanes rapidly. With Omicron, the virus is spreading more than ever. With this in mind, how does the University justify its mandate?
The University has attempted to force all students to receive the COVID vaccine and booster, even though the “gold standard” RCTs conducted by Pfizer do not demonstrate that the shots provide a positive all-cause mortality benefit. Can the University provide a detailed cost-benefit analysis that incontrovertibly demonstrates that all students will receive a net benefit by taking the shots? Such an analysis would require estimating the VAERS under-reporting factor (URF).
In the understatement of the century, Pfizer’s CEO admitted, “[T]he current vaccines … don’t have the safety profile that we hope we can achieve with this technology.” Data from VAERS, Pfizer’s post-authorization vaccine surveillance, and, most recently and significantly, Department of Defense surveillance have demonstrated that the shots are strongly associated with a variety of short and medium-term adverse events, from heart issues and neurological problems to widespread menstrual irregularities in women. Has the University considered these risks? What has it concluded?
Besides the increased susceptibility to disease that occurs in the days immediately following vaccination before efficacy “kicks in” (hence the big spike in cases at ND earlier this month), there is evidence that the shots also eventually leak into negative efficacy on the back end. Pfizer’s Risk Management Plan (RMP) submitted to the European’s Medicines Agency identifies on page 94 vaccine-associate enhanced disease as an important potential risk. They acknowledge this could occur “in vaccinees who have waning immunity over time.” Has the University considered and evaluated this risk? What is its conclusion?
The above cited RMP lists “long term safety data” under the heading “missing information.” Why is the University confident in moving forward with its mandate despite this uncertainty regarding long term safety?
The boosters are currently authorized under Emergency Use Authorization. They are investigational products approved based off 2.5 months of data collected while the Delta variant was circulating. The relevant statute requires the HHS Secretary to inform individuals of the “option to accept or refuse administration of the [EUA] product.” As I’ve previously written, “If Notre Dame seeks to follow the recommendations of federal agencies, should it not abide by the decades-long statutory obligations under which those agencies operate?”
How does Notre Dame justify this contradiction?
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.