Students, Employees & Parents Write Open Letter to Cornell University, Oppose Booster Mandate

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Cornell University students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff, have written an open letter addressed to Cornell University President Martha Pollack and the Cornell Board of Trustees, expressing strong opposition to Cornell’s COVID-19 booster vaccine mandate announced at the end of December.

The letter has received 783 signatures and asks the university to reconsider the booster requirement decision, emphasizing that the virus will continue to spread even among the highly vaccinated community, Erudera.com reports.

“We appreciate that the booster mandate and new procedures for the spring term stem from the good intention to prevent severe illness. But as with any public health policy, many factors — scientific, ethical, and legal — must be considered and weighed,” the letter reads.

The letter further claims that Cornell University identified some 1,600 COVID-19 cases in December last year, with each Omicron case detected in fully vaccinated students, some of whom have even received the booster shot.

According to it, Cornell is aware that even the booster will not put an end to the spread of the virus, adding that university’s own data indicate that the booster “has very limited capability in stopping virus transmission”.

The signatories of the letter believe that Cornell’s decision is counter to science and seems it has not been taken to promote students’ health but more to achieve the “unstated goal of the administration.”

According to them, the university should not force such risks on students, especially when the severe rate of COVID-19 in people of ages 15-40 is very low, while new variants are not likely to pose the risk of death for college students.

“Data now shows that the vaccine itself can pose more risk to young people than the virus itself, and repeated injections only increase those risks without any discernible reduction in the spread of the virus,” they added.

Following this, the letter says that the question of whether students should receive a third, fourth or fifth booster should be answered only by students, individually, in consultation with doctors or professionals and not university administrators.   

“Considering new data on the virus and the vaccine, the university may very well cause disability or death by imposing further vaccine requirements, and it will have to bear the responsibility. Please do the right thing, and end this unnecessary and unethical mandate,” the letter noted.

Cornell University has required all students and employees to receive COVID-19 booster shots by January 30, 2022. Similar to Cornell University, other universities based in New York are adding booster requirements, including New York University, Columbia University, Ithaca College and Tompkins Cortland Community College.

More than one thousand universities in the United States require their students to get vaccinated against COVID-19, with many of them also requiring booster shots.

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