January 28, 2023

Letter from 11 Professors to the University of California Opposing Covid-19 Booster Mandates

“University of California Office of the President justified the original mandate on the assumption that vaccination would protect against COVID-19 infection and prevent transmission. We now know it does neither.”

“Mounting evidence demonstrates serious risks associated with vaccination, especially for healthy males 18-39, where risks may outweigh benefits.”

“Never before in medical history has an entire population been required to receive a vaccine approved only for emergency use, for which there are no long-term data, and without informed consent, that, as a matter of law and ethics, requires that no one be coerced into a medical treatment.”

“If UC leadership continues to insist on this ill-advised action, are they ready to accept full personal responsibility and legal liability for the multitude of harms certain to result?”

Letter from 11 Professors to the University of California

In September, the University of California (“UC”) mandated bivalent COVID-19 boosters for the 2022-2023 academic year for all faculty, staff, and students, in effect shifting its policy from fully vaccinated to up-to-date and suggesting that boosters will be required in perpetuity.

In September, the University of California (“UC”) mandated bivalent COVID-19 boosters for the 2022-2023 academic year for all faculty, staff, and students, in effect shifting its policy from fully vaccinated to up-to-date and suggesting that boosters will be required in perpetuity.  We the undersigned, eleven members of the UC faculty from several campuses, sent the following letter to university administrators calling on them to reverse this new mandate.  To date, we have received no response.  In addition, we sent the letter to nine UC student newspapers for publication as an Op-Ed.  The Op-Ed editors from two of these newspapers, the Daily Bruin (UCLA) and the Daily Cal (UC-Berkeley) initially agreed enthusiastically to publish the letter.  However, they subsequently withdrew their decision to publish, we presume in the face of pressure from higher up to censor us.

We write to register deep dismay over UC’s September 22, 2022 memorandum mandating a fall 2022 COVID-19 booster for all students, staff, and faculty.  Our concerns are driven by the scientific information on the virus and on the vaccines that we have now accumulated nearly three years into the outbreak. 

Our concerns in brief:

First, University of California Office of the President justified the original mandate on the assumption that vaccination would protect against COVID-19 infection and prevent transmission. We now know it does neither, a fact acknowledged by the CDC, the FDA, the HHS, the WHO, health ministries and medical researchers around the world, and now, by Pfizer itself.  Moreover, more than 150 peer-reviewed studies demonstrate that natural immunity acquired by recovering from a COVID-19 infection is equal to if not superior to vaccination, and that paradoxically, over time, COVID-19 shots increase rather than decrease the risk of contracting and spreading the virus.  One May 2022 article in the high-impact British Medical Journal has warned that “mandatory vaccine policies are scientifically questionable and are likely to cause more societal harm than good.”  The CDC has “recommended” and not mandated the new booster.  The University’s decision to mandate boosters at this time is therefore not in accordance with CDC guidelines.  Moreover, the CDC recently greatly relaxed its COVI-19 guidelines and no longer recommends making distinctions based on a person’s vaccination status.

Second, mounting evidence demonstrates serious risks associated with vaccination, especially for healthy males 18-39, where risks may outweigh benefits. A Florida Department of Health analysis of mortality following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination, to cite one study, reported an 84 percent increase in death for men 18-39 within 28 days of vaccination. Also, well documented is the elevated risk of myocarditis, pericarditis, and emergency cardiovascular events among those under 40, a demographic that includes the vast majority of our student body and large portions of staff and faculty. The Florida study also showed that males over 60 had a 10 percent increased risk of cardiac-related death in the same 28-day period, and that non-mRNA vaccines did not have those increased risks in any population.  Multiple data sources show that young healthy people who contract COVID-19 have a recovery rate of 99.995 percent.

In March 2022, a court order compelled Pfizer to release 55,000 pages of internal reports on vaccine effectiveness and side effects.  Among the 1,246 different adverse effects in Pfizer’s own documents were cardiac arrest, deep vein thrombosis, immune-mediated hepatitis, myocarditis, brain stem embolism and thrombosis, interstitial lung disease, juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, liver injury, and multisystem inflammatory syndrome.  Another study by medical researchers, including one of our colleagues at UCSF, found that 22,000-30,000 previously uninfected adults aged 18-29 must be boosted with an mRNA vaccine to prevent just one COVID-19 hospitalization, and that “booster mandates may cause a net expected harm: per COVID-19 hospitalization prevented in previously uninfected young adults, we anticipate 18 to 98 serious adverse events, including 1.7 to 3.0 booster-associated myocarditis cases in males, and 1,373 to 3,234 cases of grade ≥3 reactogenicity.” 

Data from CDC’s official Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) released on July 15, 2022, show 1,350,950 reports of adverse events for all age groups following COVID-19 vaccines, including 29,635 deaths and 246,676 serious injuries.  It is well documented that fewer than one percent of all vaccine-associated adverse events are ever reported to the CDC’s VAERS.  This means that actual morbidity or mortality is many times greater, as pointed out, among other sources, by a recent HHS-funded Harvard Medical School vaccine injury study.  Another study published by UCLA Professors Sander Greenland and Patrick Whelan and others in the high-impact journal Vaccine in September, 2022 lamented the lack of “full transparency of the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial data” and called for a harm-benefit analysis of the vaccines.

Third, while we are not against vaccination for those who chose it, we are deeply concerned about the coercive nature of this medical procedure.  Any medical treatment must be an individual choice and should be made in consultation with one’s physician.  Never before in medical history has an entire population been required to receive a vaccine approved only for emergency use, for which there are no long-term data, and without informed consent, that, as a matter of law and ethics, requires that no one be coerced into a medical treatment.  The shift in UC policy from fully vaccinated to up-to-date signals anticipation of an open-ended process of continuous vaccinations and boosters that goes far beyond addressing a temporary emergency.

The LAUSD (among others) suspended its vaccine mandate for students (but not staff) in September 2022, after a Superior Court judge ruled that the school district did not have the authority to mandate vaccination. The State of California has not mandated boosters for anyone except health workers. Nationwide, the trend is toward eliminating all mandates.  The rate of hospitalizations is radically down and COVID-19 related deaths now appear to be about on par with annual deaths from the flu.  In contrast, “excess,” sudden, unexpected unexplained deaths have skyrocketed since the rollout of the experimental vaccines.  Even Bill Gates, who helped finance and promote the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, has now acknowledged: “We didn’t understand that it’s a fairly low fatality rate and that it’s a disease mainly in the elderly, kind of like flu.” 

If UC leadership continues to insist on this ill-advised action, are they ready to accept full personal responsibility and legal liability for the multitude of harms certain to result?

Carole H. Browner
Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science
University of California, Los Angeles

William I. Robinson
Distinguished Professor of Sociology
University of California, Santa Barbara

Roberto Strongman
Associate Professor of Black Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Arvind Thomas
Associate Professor of English
University of California, Los Angeles

Anton Van Der Ven
Professor of Engineering
University of California, Santa Barbara

Hugo Loaiciga
Professor of Geography
University of California, Santa Barbara

Aaron Kheriaty, MD
Former Professor, School of Medicine
Former Director of Medical Ethics Program
University of California, Irvine

Gabriel Vorobiof
Associate Professor of Medicine
University of California, Los Angeles

Lazlo Boros
Assistant Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics, Endocrinology and Metabolism (retired)
University of California, Los Angeles 

Patrick Whelan 
Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Aditi Bhargava, Ob/Gyn, Reproductive Sciences
Professor Emeritus, School of Medicine
University of California, San Francisco

More at: https://nocollegemandates.substack.com/

| Policy

UC COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Requirements – 2022

UC COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Requirements

University of California Vaccine Program Policy requires faculty, staff and students to obtain the latest CDC recommended booster shot as soon as they are eligible. (please see grid below for booster eligibility timing) If are booster eligible but you’re not boosted: Students have an enrollment hold and are not able to register for classes until they have met the COVID-19 booster requirement.

UC COVID-19 Vaccination and Booster Policy Requirement

University of California Vaccine Program Policy(link is external) requires faculty, staff and students to obtain the latest CDC recommended booster shot as soon as they are eligible.  (please see grid below for booster eligibility timing)

  • If are booster eligible but you’re not boosted:
    • Students have an enrollment hold and are not able to register for classes until they have met the COVID-19 booster requirement.
    • Weekly testing is strongly recommended until you are boosted.  
  • For students who are not yet eligible for a booster, you will not have an enrollment until 30 days after you have become eligible to get your booster.  

Students are reminded that compliance with the vaccination policy is a condition of being physically on campus.  Faculty and staff are reminded that compliance is a condition of employment.

| Law

California appeals court axes district COVID-19 student vaccine mandate

Court said only the state can require immunizations

California appeals court axes district COVID-19 student vaccine mandate

In a defeat to school districts throughout California, including many in the Bay Area, that sought to impose their own COVID-19 vaccine requirements on students, an appellate court has ruled that only the state can make such mandates.

In a defeat to school districts throughout California, including many in the Bay Area, that sought to impose their own COVID-19 vaccine requirements on students, an appellate court has ruled that only the state can make such mandates.

The Fourth District California Court of Appeal sided with a judge who had ruled in December that San Diego Unified School District exceeded its authority in imposing a requirement that students ages 16 or older had to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to attend classes and participate in sports and other activities.

“We reject the District’s primary contention that the Legislature left the door open for local school districts to require student vaccination for COVID-19 as a condition to attending in-person class,” the court said in an opinion by Associate Justice William Dato. Presiding Justice Judith McConnell and Associate Justice Terry B. O’Rourke concurred. “Given the scope of the state statutes, school districts have no remaining discretion in these matters.”

The ruling could also have implications for some Bay Area school districts that last year had announced vaccine requirements — although not all the mandates had been enforced.

Lee Andelin, lead attorney for Let Them Breathe, a parent group that has fought school COVID vaccine and mask mandates, and sued San Diego Unified as Let Them Choose, said in a statement that the ruling is “a great win for children and the rule of law and ensures consistency statewide.” He said the published opinion applies to all California school districts and “sets important precedent to protect access to education.”

Samer Naji, a spokesperson for San Diego school district, said it was “still examining yesterday’s ruling and potential next steps.”

In July, a Los Angeles County judge made a similar ruling in a lawsuit over Los Angeles Unified School District‘s COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, in October 2021, announced California would become the first state to add COVID-19 vaccines to the list of 10 other required immunizations to attend California schools, starting in July 2022. Federal, state and local health officials agree the shots are safe and effective.

Oakland, West Contra Costa, Berkeley, Hayward and Piedmont school districts announced their own COVID vaccine requirements in the fall of 2021 amid waves of infections from the potent delta variant, which managed in some cases to evade the shots.

Some of those district-level requirements were soft mandates that allowed personal belief exemptions for those who didn’t want the shots. Districts that didn’t allow such exemptions, such as in Los Angeles, Oakland and West Contra Costa, postponed their requirements once it became clear last winter that thousands of students, many of them poor and suffering disproportionately from learning loss due to pandemic school closures, were not getting the shots and would be barred from class.

The latest statistics published by the state suggest large numbers of students could have their enrollment jeopardized if California follows through with its proposed vaccine mandate. Just 67% of 12 to 17-year-olds and and 38% of 5 to 11-year-olds have had the primary two-shot COVID-19 vaccine series. Only 40% of 12 to 17-year-olds and 24% of 5 to 11-year-olds have had a booster shot.

A bill that would have eliminated personal belief exemptions for the state student COVID-19 vaccine mandate was withdrawn by the author last spring, citing a need to increase vaccination rates. At the same time, the California Department of Public Health announced it was delaying the statewide mandate until at least July 2023. Oakland, West Contra Costa, Los Angeles and other districts have since said they would align their requirements with the state.

The California Department of Public Health said Wednesday that it “continues to emphasize and conduct outreach regarding the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and supports youth vaccination campaigns and school-located vaccination programs.” But regarding the pending statewide mandate, the department said only that “we continue to strongly encourage all eligible Californians, including eligible children, to get vaccinated.”

Kevin Snider, a lawyer with the Pacific Justice Institute, who is handling a similar case against West Contra Costa Unified School District, said Wednesday that the appellate ruling “closely tracks the arguments that parents made” in West Contra Costa, and “the impact of the recent ruling will likely be significant.”

Stella Miranda, whose three grandchildren attend West Contra Costa Unified schools and who is part of a group of families fighting the district’s vaccine mandate, said Wednesday she was encouraged by the appellate court ruling. She said she opposes the vaccine requirement because the shots are relatively new and have mostly been given under emergency use authorization.

“We’re still in the fight,” Miranda said. “We’re not going to give up.”

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How Covid revolt swept across China: Hundreds of brave protesters demand Communist leader steps down over draconian lockdowns in biggest uprising since Tiananmen Square

How Covid revolt swept across China: Hundreds demand leader steps down

Protests began after ten people, including young children, died in apartment fire Homes were trapped with families enduring their third month of Covid lockdown Deaths ignited protests in eight other Chinese cities e.g.

  • Protests began after ten people, including young children, died in apartment fire
  • Homes were trapped with families enduring their third month of Covid lockdown
  • Deaths ignited protests in eight other Chinese cities e.g. Beijing and Shanghai
  • Now it’s sparked most daring explosion of defiance against the regime for years

The blaze broke out in a residential high-rise building in Urumqi, a city in western China infamous for the repression of Uighur citizens and where the temperatures have dropped below freezing after dark.

The fire is thought to have begun with a faulty electric socket in a bedroom on the 15th floor, before spreading rapidly to engulf the flats on higher levels in a hell of burning flames, thick smoke and toxic fumes.

Shockingly, the homes were filled with families enduring their third month of Covid lockdown, who found themselves trapped in a blazing inferno because of the brutal health restrictions of a dictatorial regime.

Videos on social media show arcs of water from fire trucks falling short of the building as rescue teams were stymied by pandemic control barriers and parked cars thought to have been abandoned by drivers forced into quarantine.

Recordings play the screams from dying people trapped in homes and desperate pleas for help from families facing suffocation. They detail the anguish of neighbours unable to help, efforts to shove aside cars impeding fire crews and even the crude wires reportedly wrapped around door handles to stop people leaving residences.

Ten people, including young children, were confirmed to have died, with nine others injured – although rumours are swirling around Chinese social media that the true number of fatalities might be more than four times higher.

Now these horrific deaths have ignited extraordinary protests in at least eight other Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, in the most daring explosion of defiance against the repressive Communist regime for many years.

It is highly unusual for people to publicly vent anger at Communist Party leaders in China, where direct government criticism can result in harsh penalties, including years in prison.

But the demonstrators are challenging president Xi Jinping’s pig-headed determination to continue imposing strict ‘Zero Covid’ lockdown policies on the country that gave birth to the pandemic.

The protests expose the growing mood of frustration after almost three years of restrictions in the only major country in the world still fighting Covid using the outdated weapons of mass lockdowns and regular testing.

Some bold protesters are even calling for the removal of their all-powerful president only a month after Xi won his third term as party head, which secured his status as China’s most dominant leader since Chairman Mao.

In the financial hub of Shanghai, police responded with beatings and pepper spray after young activists chanted slogans such as ‘Xi Jinping, step down, Communist Party, step down’ alongside loud demands to ‘Unlock Xinjiang, unlock China’.

The big question, as outrage grows on social media and protests flare up reportedly on at least 50 university campuses, is whether mounting frustration over Xi’s tough Covid policies might now spark a serious challenge to his ultra-autocratic regime.

Certainly, they present significant rebuke to an egotistical leader who has hailed his approach to Covid as proof of the superiority of China’s system of government after the initial bungles and cover-up that unleashed a pandemic on the planet.

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