“Congratulations, you have been admitted to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs!”
That was the first sentence in the acceptance email I received from UCCS last week. How excited I was, keyword being “was.” On April 28, the University of Colorado school system announced that CU faculty, staff, and students will be mandated to get the COVID-19 vaccine to attend this coming fall semester. Sorry, but I won’t be forced into taking a newly developed drug to use my hard-earned Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at your school.
Before I continue, I want to make a few things clear. I am not an “anti-vaxxer” nor am I against the COVID-19 vaccines. In my 10 years of military service, I’ve received more vaccines that I can keep count of. I’ve begged my grandmother, who is in her 70s and in the high-risk category, to get the vaccine. In October 2020, I lowered my grandfather into the ground after he passed away from complications related to contracting the coronavirus. If only the vaccines were available then, he’d still be alive today. The vaccines are nothing short of a modern-day medical miracle.
There are several reasons why a university mandating a newly developed drug is wrong. There are legal, moral, religious, and administrative grounds for concern. According to data from the CDC, people under 25 made up only 0.2% of COVID deaths, an age range where most university students reside. The one particular issue that forms the basis for my resistance is on medical uncertainties.
I recently had the coronavirus infection and now have natural immunity. At 32 years old, I’m still relatively young and live a very healthy lifestyle. I have no preexisting medical conditions or comorbidities that would normally complicate the effects of COVID.
Because of these circumstances, my symptoms from my infection were extremely mild. The worst of my symptoms consisted of some fatigue and a slight headache. After three days of being tired, I felt fine.
Is it rational to believe that because I’ve recently had the virus, I shouldn’t have to get the vaccine?
Recently, one doctor has been blowing the whistle and writing open letters to universities who are mandating students take the vaccine. Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, a pro-vaccine immunologist and cardiothoracic surgeon, wrote a letter to Stanford University’s president after they passed a rule similar to the University of Colorado.
In the letter, Dr. Noorchashm explains, “Vaccination of naturally immune persons is, by definition, an unnecessary medical procedure.”
He continues, “In the case of vaccines, these include allergic reactions, anaphylaxis and Guillain Barre syndrome, (and in the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, the blood clots that seem to be an added risk), all of which do pose a risk of severe morbidity or mortality.”
Dr. Noorchashm concludes, “No matter if this risk is to only a “minority subset” of those vaccinated, it is nonetheless unreasonable to expose naturally immune persons to these risks, because the treatment is medically unnecessary and unlikely to benefit such persons.”
Instead of an “indiscriminate vaccination mandate,” Dr. Noorchashm recommends an “immunity mandate.” In this scenario, those who have recently had the infection or are naturally immune would not be required to get the vaccine to attend the university. An antibodies test could easily determine if a student has resistance to the virus, and therefore wouldn’t need to take the unnecessary risk of getting a vaccine they don’t need. Antibody tests aren’t free, but are relatively cheap when compared to taking an unnecessary medical risk.
The medical breakthrough of the COVID-19 vaccines will undoubtedly save countless lives. People worried about contracting the virus, especially those in the vulnerable or high-risk categories, should seriously consider getting vaccinated. But for those of us who are naturally immune and are at an extremely low-risk (think college-aged students), being mandated indiscriminately to attend school is an unnecessary and potentially dangerous hazard. If this rule stands, I’ll gladly spend my tuition elsewhere.
Jarvis Caldwell is the vice chair of County Commission District 2 in El Paso County. He’s also an Air Force veteran, elected bonus member to the EPC GOP Executive Committee and a political science major at American Military University.