Villanova University COVID-19 Booster Mandate

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January 19, 2022

To: The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, President, Villanova University,

Dr. Mary E. McGonigle, Director of Villanova University Health Center,

Kathleen J. Byrnes, Vice President for Student Life

Dear Fr. Donohue, Dr. McGonigle, and Ms. Byrnes, 

We are a group of 400 members of Villanova University – parents and alumni – writing this urgent letter of concern to you, in consultation with expert clinicians, to request a time-critical modification to Villanova University's COVID-19 booster vaccine mandate.

All of us signing this letter, and especially our children who attend Villanova, have already complied with the University's prior immunization requirements and approved exemptions.

Additionally, we fully understand and empathize with the difficult position the Villanova University administration finds itself in during this pandemic.

Nevertheless, we have very serious safety concerns about the recent vaccine booster mandate at Villanova University. It’s clear that the University's administration has not exercised sufficient circumspection in creating clearly delineated medically rational “off-ramps” from the booster mandates for those who are already well immune to COVID-19. It is a serious problem that a medically unnecessary third booster shot could prove dangerous and irreparably harmful in such already well immune individuals.

Of particular concern is the rising rate of heart injury to our young people, and particularly young men in the 18-25-year-old age group. The risk of vaccine-induced myocarditis is four times higher in kids who have been previously infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Therefore, with this letter, we are respectfully requesting that Villanova University administration formally exempt the following three groups of students, faculty, and staff from a vaccine booster mandate:

1) Individuals who, within the span of the past 12-24 months, have had a natural COVID-19 infection AND two mandated mRNA vaccine shots (OR the single-shot J&J vaccine). These individuals are by clinical definition, very robustly immune. In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci has labeled such persons, “bulletproof” with “hybrid immunity”. To vaccinate such already well immune persons with an added booster by administrative mandate is medically unnecessary and, thus, only risks serious harm – possibly irreparably to some.

2) Individuals who had already received the prior mandated vaccinations, and who during this Christmas break experienced a “breakthrough infection” with the Delta or Omicron Variants. Like individuals in the first category above, COVID-19 immunity in these persons also meets the definition of “bulletproof hybrid immunity”. Additionally, to vaccinate such very recently infected/convalescent persons with a medically unnecessary booster vaccine carries a risk of triggering a dangerous hyperinflammatory response. This should be avoided at all costs.

3) Individuals, vaccinated or previously infected, in whom a licensed physician has ordered a personalized serological evaluation and attests that robust and protective COVID-19 immunity is already present. 

We know that your intent in imposing a booster vaccine mandate at Villanova University is to protect the community. However, in the rush to protect Villanova University, we ask that you not lose sight of rational ethical reasoning - or of the very important principle of medical necessity. It is a vastly accepted truism that harm and irreparable damage to innocents in the minority, almost always resides in “one-size-fits-all” approaches to institutional and governmental policies and practices.

With this letter of petition, we ask that Villanova University urgently shift its booster mandate policy to automatically exempt the large proportion of our community who fall within the above three categories.

Respectfully,

Villanova University parents and alumni

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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