By: Naomi Rose  | 

YU’s Booster Mandate Is Illogical

On Dec. 30, Provost Selma Botman sent an email to the Yeshiva University community with information regarding the upcoming spring semester. In addition to keeping masking and testing policies in place, YU is now mandating COVID booster shots as well. Provost Botman wrote, “It is for this reason that we will be requiring each member of the YU community to receive a booster as soon as they are eligible … Omicron is being transmitted rapidly in vaccinated individuals and booster vaccination is an important tool in protecting those at high risk for serious disease.”

Ever heard the expression, “Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile?” That is precisely the case here. The vast majority of the YU community complied with the first vaccine mandate. Now, YU is trying to institute yet another mandate. 

The reasons that Provost Botman used to justify this coercive mandate are ridiculous. She said that the Omicron variant is highly transmissible and therefore booster mandates are necessary. Omicron may be contagious, but is it really dangerous enough to warrant mandates? NBC News lists the symptoms of Omicron to be a cough, runny nose and fatigue. Not only are these symptoms highly similar to the common cold, but Omicron’s mortality rate seems to be extremely low as well. A study published by South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases found that people with Omicron were 80% less likely than those with other variants to require hospitalization. 

Additionally, the Omicron variant was first identified on Nov. 11. More than a month later, on Dec. 13, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that only “one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron.” Notice the Prime Minister’s language here; the victim did not die of Omicron, but with it. Furthermore, according to more recent reports published about Omicron-related deaths, there have been only 14 in the U.K., and one (in a man with underlying health conditions) in the U.S.. More people die from the flu than from Omicron! In the 2019-2020 flu season, there had been an estimated 20,000 deaths from the flu. This just illustrates how low the Omicron mortality rate is.

Not only is the Omicron variant not at all dangerous, but a study published on MSN shows that it is resistant to vaccines and boosters as well. The study says, “We found [Omicron] to be markedly resistant to neutralization by serum not only from convalescent patients, but also from individuals vaccinated with one of the four widely used COVID-19 vaccines. Even serum from persons vaccinated and boosted with mRNA-based vaccines exhibited substantially diminished neutralizing activity against B. 1. 1. 529 (Omicron).” In  preprint study, cited in a Wall Street Journal article, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were proven to not only have no statistically significant effect against Omicron, but to actually cause the vaccinated to be more susceptible to catching Omicron. Studies from Denmark and Ontario confirm these results by showing that the vaccinated had higher rates of COVID-19 infection than the unvaccinated.

Well, there you have it. Getting vaccinated or boosted will not help “protect” you from the common cold (aka the Omicron variant). In fact, according to an article on CNBC, which quotes a South African study, catching Omicron actually helps develop antibodies, which increases protection against Delta by more than 400%. 

It is clear that this vaccine is doing nothing to prevent transmission of the virus, as we all know vaccinated people who have gotten COVID. Even Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, acknowledged that “what the vaccines can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.” So essentially there is absolutely no reason for YU to mandate boosters.

YU students have had enough of these mandates as well. Many students feel coerced –– as they previously were –– into vaccinating themselves against their will. Injecting an unknown substance into one’s body is not a decision that anyone should take lightly. Least of all, it is not a decision that anyone other than the individual should make. Yet, YU has made this decision for all members of its community. 

A petition started by YU student Yishai Kornwasser, in an attempt to repeal this mandate, has garnered over 1,300 signatures in just one week. Kornwasser writes, “We recognize that if we comply yet again, the administration will never stop with the mandates. It is time to say ‘enough is enough.’” These mandates will never stop until we speak up and fight back against it. Israel is already giving people their fourth boosters, and I am sure that given the opportunity, YU will be soon to follow. In fact, during a meeting on Jan. 6 discussing the new Spring 2022 protocols, YU’s medical expert, Dr. Robert Van Amerongen, was asked whether YU will be requiring booster shots every four-six months. Not surprisingly, he said that although he is not anticipating it, “a lot depends on what the future will hold.” Clearly, YU is going to endlessly institute more mandates as soon as they are able to. How many more boosters will we allow to be forcefully injected into our bodies before we fight back? In an LA public school district, the administration was forced to delay their vaccine mandate for an entire year because of 30,000 students who would not comply. If we do the same, Yeshiva University might have no choice but to repeal the mandate as well.

Photo Caption: “Do Not Comply” sign

Photo Credit: Unsplash