Dear President Ono, University of Michigan Regents, and Leaders,
We are active members of the University of Michigan community, including students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff. We support U-M’s recent decision to revise the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for most faculty, staff, and students. This is a positive step in the right direction. We request that U-M must now rescind the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all faculty, staff, and students. We especially demand that U-M remove COVID-19 vaccination requirements for students in Michigan Housing on the Ann Arbor campus.
The updated U-M vaccination policy for students in Ann Arbor Michigan Housing now requires the bivalent omicron COVID-19 booster. This is an even more extreme policy than was previously required, impacting the most vulnerable and captive U-M population. A key aspect of the U-M experience, especially for freshman and sophomores, is being part of the on-campus residential community. Therefore, this new policy disproportionately affects the youngest community members who are least likely to be severely impacted by COVID-19 and the most likely to be harmed by potential side effects and unknown long-term consequences of COVID-19 vaccination.
U-M must balance its duty of care to students residing in Michigan Housing along with the need to respect the autonomy of its students. In fact, U-M is breaching its duty of care by requiring students to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, given the increasing body of evidence showing harmful impacts of vaccination and changing norms around mandatory vaccination requirements. There is also clear evidence that COVID-19 vaccinations, including the bivalent omicron booster, do not prevent infection nor transmission of COVID-19. This negates any claims for the necessity of these vaccinations to mitigate risk of disruption caused by infectious disease.
The evidence below shows mandatory COVID-19 vaccination is currently disapproved by the majority of governments and colleges today. Every week more government entities and organizations are rejecting vaccine mandates, given new scientific evidence, as well as for ethical and legal reasons (listed below). If your administration’s decision is based on firm evidence for the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccinations, explains why only specific segments of the U-M community require vaccination and boosters, rests upon sound ethical and legal arguments, reflects the popular will of the people, and is in line with the federal government’s ending of the emergency declarations, then can you please show us your evidence?
Students must have their rights to bodily autonomy, a core Michigan value, restored.
Policy Has Evolved With The Data.
Data shows that Europe, with a few exceptions, always provided the option to test or prove natural immunity, rather than take the vaccine. Specific to universities, the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark never imposed mandates[i]. Denmark and Norway are recommending the vaccines for only those over 50 or 65[ii]. Japan always assured its citizens that no vaccination might be given without consent, nor discrimination based on vaccine choice[iii], and New Zealand dropped all vaccine mandates on September 26, 2022[iv].
In the USA, the Supreme Court blocked President Biden’s vaccine mandates for large employers, and on September 18, 2022, President Biden, during a 60 Minutes interview[v], declared the COVID-19 pandemic “over.”
Recently, the New York Supreme Court ordered reinstatement and backpay for fired unvaccinated workers[vi]. The court orders revoking the mandates, considered them “arbitrary and capricious pursuant to CPLR 7803,” meaning “without sound basis in reason and is generally taken without regard to the facts[vii].”
On October 17, 2022, Moderna’s CEO, Stephane Bancel, loosened his COVID-19 vaccine recommendation to apply primarily for people 50 years and above[viii].
Other Higher Education Institutions Do Not Have Vaccine Mandates; U-M is an outlier
No College Mandates is tracking over a thousand (1064) universities in the USA[ix]. Among them, only 25 universities (2.3%) require the bivalent booster (one with the option to decline), 620 do not require any vaccination, and 203 don’t require boosters (as of March 2023).
Of the 31 universities tracked in Michigan, 26 dropped all mandates, and another 28 don’t require any boosters.
Michigan State University lifted their COVID-19 vaccination requirement on 2/28/2023 stating,
“Thus, as the pandemic continues to shift from an acute public health crisis to a personal health responsibility, MSU no longer will require the COVID-19 vaccination for students, staff and faculty, effective today.”
Universities now recognize infections occur regardless of vaccination status[xi], and consider the risk-benefit analysis for ages 18-29 based on FDA data[xii]. You can expect international and out-of-state students to pay tuition and attend universities that respect their bodily autonomy.
US Federal Agencies and Pfizer Do Not Have Booster Mandates, U-M should not either.
In alignment with the September 9, 2021 emergency order by President Biden[xiii], the White House and all government agency employees, including from the CDC, NIH, and FDA, do not have a booster mandate. The order follows the CDC’s current definition of fully vaccinated as having completed the primary series; it does not include a COVID-19 booster[xiv]. The NIH encourages boosters for their staff and contractors[xv], but does not require them[xvi]. Reporting vaccinations and boosters status is voluntary[xvii]. Pfizer[xviii]gave its US employees and contractors the option to take the COVID-19 vaccine or participate in weekly testing.
EUA, Mandates, Federal Law, Legal Aspects
It is a violation of federal law to mandate an EUA product. U-M cannot lawfully require students to receive any COVID-19 vaccination or boosters being distributed under an EUA.
U-M communications and policy must follow the FDA’s Vaccine Information Fact Sheet document[xix] [xx], which provides a clear explanation of serious risks for people under 40 and a statement that underscores the right to bodily autonomy. Under the EUA, it is your choice to receive or not receive any of these vaccines.
With its vaccine distribution centers, U-M must comply with the federal rules under Section 564 of the Act[xxi], (inc. 21 U.S.C. 360bbb-3). To comply, it will have to sign a COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement, and provide patients with the EUA Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers for the vaccine product administered[xxii]. All mandates violate this Agreement. Additionally, an EUA can only be granted when no adequate, approved, and available alternatives exist[xxiii](III.B.1.d.). The validity of an EUA is now null. Medications and treatments for COVID-19 include several antiviral medications and monoclonal antibodies[xxiv].
A 2020 Harvard Law Bill of Health article co-authored by a professor at the UC Hastings College of the Law forewarned why COVID-19 vaccines should not be mandatory[xxv]. Under the PREP Act, vaccine companies are shielded from liability. For the heart injured, this could turn into a lifetime of endless bills[xxvi]. When a student is coerced against the FDA’s right to choose, who is accountable and legally liable for the vaccine injured?
The abuse of power by the University of Michigan is unethical and illegal. According to 21 C.F.R. – 50 (20 to 25), it is unlawful to make anybody participate in an experimental program using coercion[xxvii].
False Premise for Previous Mandates
In 2021 mandates were introduced on the false premise that the vaccines prevented infection/transmission.
On September 9, 2021, the White House Presidential action[xxviii] advised the way to avoid COVID-19 spread and prevent infection from the Delta variant and other variants was to be vaccinated. Previously, in an interview on March 29, 2021, the CDC Director, Rochelle Walensky[xxix], stated that the CDC data suggested vaccinated people did not carry the virus and didn’t get sick, asserting that these conclusions were from clinical trials and real-world data. On August 19, 2021, with the benefit of additional real-world data, Dr. Fauci stated[xxx] (9:15) that the COVID-19 vaccines prevented getting infected or getting sick.
COVID-19 Vaccines Do Not Prevent Transmission
In 2020, Berkeley Law published a paper[xxxi] stating mandates were justified only to prevent transmission. However, on August 11, 2022, the CDC updated its guidance for the prevention of COVID-19[xxxii], it recognized immunity and no longer differentiated people based on a person’s vaccination status.
Pfizer did not test for transmission before rollout. Pfizer executive Janine Small confirmed this in a presentation to the EU Parliament[xxxiii] in October 2022. The COVID-19 vaccines had been marketed in a way that misled the public to believe that vaccines prevented infection. Yet, Dr. Fauci was infected in June and July 2022, President Biden in July and August 2022, and Dr. Walensky a month after receiving the bivalent booster.
MEDICAL: 18-29 Year Olds are at Higher Risk from COVID-19 Vaccines than from COVID-19 Itself
We have reviewed over 250 medical journal articles regarding severe adverse effects and found the following:
Research shows the risk of myocarditis for 18-29 year olds after a second dose of mRNA-1273 was higher than the risk after infection[xxxiv], and a higher incidence of acute myocarditis for the same group after receiving the second dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine[xxxv]. A study conducted in 2021 showed the expected rate of myocarditis was 1 in 8 in 18–29-year-old males. However, the observed number of cases was 219, or 30x higher[xxxvi]. Myocarditis clinical presentation varies from subclinical disease to acute heart failure, or sudden cardiac death. The long-term consequences of myocarditis are unknown[xxxvii], and the prognostic significance and mechanism of this myocardial injury need to be studied further[xxxviii],[xxxix].
A NEJM study concluded that among the persons with myocarditis in the vaccinated group, the median age was 25 years, and 90.9% were male; and that studies are needed to estimate the long-term adverse events[xl]. Myocarditis is a serious diagnosis as cardiac myocytes do not regenerate[xli]. The CDC states that adverse effects could be more intense after booster doses[xlii], advises those who have been diagnosed with myocarditis to consult with their cardiologist about returning to exercise [xliii], and mentions that adverse events can cause long-term health problems[xliv]. Many of the cited articles pointed out that the numbers of vaccine injuries are most likely under-reported.
Studies confirmed that women are experiencing significant changes to their menstrual cycles following vaccination[xlv].
FDA and Emerging Data U-M Should Consider
We know from the FDA Fact Sheet[xlvi] that the bivalent booster was tried on only 300 individuals over 55 years of age. The booster was not tested on the 18-29 age bracket. The document points out that myocarditis and pericarditis have occurred in vaccinated individuals, with a higher incidence in males under 40. If U-M mandates the bivalent booster, it will be exposing the student population to a higher risk of vaccine injury. It will be dangerous and unethical, as research for the new booster has not been conducted on this age group (18-29). A recent study anticipates a net expected harm in previously uninfected young adults[xlvii]. According to the principle of proportionality, vaccine mandates should not be applied to the 18-29 age group, because expected harms are not outweighed by public health benefits, as described above.
We don’t know the duration of protection against COVID-19, and we are unaware of all the possible side effects of these vaccines, as they are still being studied. Additionally, the public has not had access to data from the bivalent booster trials; the CDC has not published it yet, leading to an undesirable asymmetry of information.
Emerging data shows that serious adverse reactions are worse than foreseen. The Pfizer and Moderna clinical trial reanalysis by Fraiman and colleagues indicated the mRNA vaccines were associated with an additional serious adverse event for every 800 people vaccinated[xlviii]. Analysis of the recently released V-safe program data found that 7.7% of the users – 782,913 people – reported seeking medical attention via telehealth appointment, urgent care clinic, emergency room intervention, or hospitalization following a COVID-19 vaccine[xlix]. This is only based on data from previous injections.
The Right to Bodily Autonomy
U-M has forced students into a mandate against FDA legal advice, threatening them with disciplinary actions including disenrollment. U-M has a duty of care to get its policy correct. There is an inherent imbalance of power, coercing the students into an impossible place.
The University of Michigan must consider our logical arguments, withdraw all COVID-19 booster mandates, and give students the option to decline or opt out of all COVID-19 mandates. Their bodies, their choices.