Heart problems in vaccinated students trigger medical, legal scrutiny of campus COVID mandates

As the government reviews several hundred reports of heart inflammation in young people following COVID vaccination, high-profile medical and legal scholars are calling on colleges to scrap their COVID vaccine mandates, calling them unnecessary and potentially harmful to students.

University of California-Irvine medical ethicist Aaron Kheriaty and University of Notre Dame law professor Gerard Bradley went so far as to invoke the post-Nazi Nuremberg Code in urging universities to abandon their mandates, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week.

Though many universities already offer exemptions based on medical history and religious objections, the professors suggest two more: the emergency use authorization (EUA) status of the COVID vaccines and widespread natural immunity.

Younger adults and children have “extremely low” risk of mortality from COVID, epidemiologists Martin Kulldorff of Harvard Medical School and Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford Med wrote in an op-ed for The Hill Thursday.

(Kulldorff, a pioneer in vaccine safety, didn’t share the op-ed on his newly unlocked Twitter feed. “Twitter does not allow vaccine scientists to freely discuss vaccines, but you can find it on my LinkedIn and Gab accounts,” he tweeted Thursday, referring to his monthlong suspension for questioning the protective power of masks.)

“Even a slight risk of a serious vaccine adverse reaction could tip the benefit-risk calculation, making the vaccine more harmful than beneficial,” Kulldorff and Bhattacharya wrote, accusing universities with mandates of ignoring “basic benefit-risk analyses, a staple of the toolbox of scientists.”

Benefits versus risks of mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) for adolescents and young adults are on the agenda for this week’s meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. It will also tackle reports of myocarditis developing after vaccination. (Originally scheduled for June 18, the meeting was moved to June 23-25 on account of the new Juneteenth federal holiday.)

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