An Open Letter from the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons to All Colleges and Universities

Dear Deans, Governing Boards and Trustees,

On behalf of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, I am writing to ask you to reconsider your new policy mandating COVID-19 vaccination of students prior to returning to campus.[i] Institutions of higher learning are divided on this issue.[ii] ,[iii] Although, at first glance, the policy may seem prudent, it coerces students into bearing unneeded and unknown risk and is at heart contrary to the bedrock medical principle of informed consent.

There are multiple reasons to reverse your policy. I ask you to consider the following:

  1. Young adults are a healthy and immunologically competent and vibrant group that is at, “extraordinary low risk for COVID-19 morbidity and mortality.”[iv]
  2. College and University students, however, are under significant mental health strain already from COVID-19 fears, circumstances, distance learning problems and the imposition of government health policy restrictions.[v]
  3. Even though the FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for three COVID-19 vaccines, they are not FDA approved to treat, cure or prevent any disease at this time.  Clinical trials will continue for at least two years before the FDA can even consider approval of these vaccines as effective and safe.
  4. The COVID-19 vaccines on the market in the U.S., mRNA (Moderna and Pfizer) and DNA (Johnson & Johnson – Janssen), have caused notable side effects, pathology and even death (>2300 deaths per VAERS as of  April 20, 2021). These adverse reactions result in absence from school and work, hospital visits, and even loss of life.[vi]
  5. College-age women may be at unique risk for adverse events following administration of the experimental COVID vaccinations currently available. According to the CDC, all cases of life-threatening blood clots, subsequent to receiving the J&J vaccine, reported so far in the United States, occurred in younger women.[vii]  The vast majority of cases of anaphylaxis have also occurred in women.[viii] In addition, “women are reporting having irregular menstrual cycles after getting the coronavirus vaccine,”[ix] and 95 miscarriages have been reported to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System (VAERS) following COVID vaccination as of April 24, 2021.[x]
  6. Recent research data demonstrates that the spike protein, present on the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the induced primary mechanism of action of COVID-19 vaccines, are the primary cause of disease, infirmity, hospitalization and death.[xi]
  7. Students who have had self-limited cases of COVID-19 already possess antibodies, activated B-cells, activated T-cells (detectable by lab testing).  This durable, long-term immunity would not only prevent them from getting recurrent COVID-19, but would also represent herd immunity to protect others in the college or university community.[xii],[xiii]
  8. COVID-19 convalescent students may be harmed by college and university policy requiring COVID-19 vaccines.[xiv] They already have extensive immunity and would be likely harmed from a forced confrontation with COVID-19 vaccine induced spike protein causing autoimmune reactions leading to illness and possible death.[xv]
  9. Students and their families may justifiably believe these policies discriminate against individuals who aren’t candidates for this vaccine, have pre-existing conditions, previous COVID-19 disease, cite religious objections, or are otherwise exercising their freewill choosing not to participate in this optional vaccine experiment. Refer to the Nuremberg code from WWII, which requires individuals, “to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force….”[xvi]
  10. Institutional policies that permit faculty to choose or refuse vaccination, but do not allow students the same options, raise equal protection constitutional issues.
  11. The ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, requires “reasonable accommodations,” be provided based on an individual’s own unique health situation.  This includes rejection of an experimental vaccine intervention which may exacerbate known health problems and thereby cause harm.
  12. Colleges and Universities should consider whether they might be liable for damages, poor health outcomes, and loss of life due to mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies.[xvii]
  13. “Positive cases,” as defined by laboratory testing alone, may be false positive testing errors or asymptomatic infection that is not clinically proven to spread disease.
  14. Ambulatory outpatient early treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection / COVID-19 has been demonstrated effective in adults.[xviii]
  15. Informed consent is the standard for all medical interventions. The FDA factsheet for the healthcare provider reads, “The recipient or their caregiver has the option to accept or refuse (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine.”

Please reverse your decision to mandate experimental COVID-19 vaccines before more students are harmed and make the vaccines rightfully optional. Both unvaccinated and vaccinated students should be permitted on campus. Thank you for your time and attention. We would appreciate hearing back from you as soon as possible and welcome further discussion with you and other leaders at your institution.

Sincerely,

Paul M. Kempen, M.D., Ph.D. – AAPS President (2021)

References


[i] https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-covid-vaccine-several-colleges-required-20210407-yyfysfahxzbvrcx6n2w63dcwue-story.html

[ii] https://apnews.com/article/us-colleges-divided-student-coronavirus-vaccination-8c46ab65afc4538cb060c320ed94fc54

[iii] https://newjersey.news12.com/rowan-stockton-universities-will-not-require-covid-19-vaccine-to-attend

[iv] https://www.andrewbostom.org/2021/04/audio-dr-andrew-bostom-with-wpros-matt-allen-4-5-21-discussing-roger-williams-universitys-mandatory-fall-2021-covid-19-vaccination-for-students-absent-any-reference-to-their-ext/

[v] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33667243/

[vi] https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-covid-ohio-student-death-johnson-shot-20210416-hm54bbifnvgc7ggxxc4cxrvpui-story.html

[vii] https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/fda-cdc-lift-vaccine-use.html

[viii] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2776557

[ix] https://www.ajc.com/life/women-reporting-irregular-menstrual-cycle-after-vaccination/XRN2P4FOWRAV7DIPYTU2MO67VA/

[x] https://wonder.cdc.gov/vaers.html

[xi] https://www.qeios.com/read/26GTOD.2/pdf

[xii] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41577-020-00436-4

[xiii] https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/lasting-immunity-found-after-recovery-covid-19

[xiv] https://www.aier.org/article/if-you-had-covid-do-you-need-the-vaccine/

[xv] https://noorchashm.medium.com/uregnt-fda-communication-catastrophic-blood-clot-risk-absent-medical-necessity-of-covid-19-a6bb35b806df

[xvi] http://www.cirp.org/library/ethics/nuremberg/

[xvii] https://thehill.com/regulation/labor/541173-first-case-against-mandatory-vaccination-filed-in-new-mexico-dention-center?rl=1

[xviii] https://rcm.imrpress.com/EN/10.31083/j.rcm.2020.04.264

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Association of American Physicians and Surgeons: Statement on Federal Vaccine Mandate

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To:  Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, House Energy and Commerce Committee

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Re: Statement federal vaccine mandates

Feb. 26, 2019

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) strongly opposes federal interference in medical decisions, including mandated vaccines. After being fully informed of the risks and benefits of a medical procedure, patients have the right to reject or accept that procedure. The regulation of medical practice is a state function, not a federal one. Governmental preemption of patients’ or parents’ decisions about accepting drugs or other medical interventions is a serious intrusion into individual liberty, autonomy, and parental decisions about child-rearing.

A public health threat is the rationale for the policy on mandatory vaccines. But how much of a threat is required to justify forcing people to accept government-imposed risks? Regulators may intervene to protect the public against a one-in-one million risk of a threat such as cancer from an involuntary exposure to a toxin, or-one-in 100,000 risk from a voluntary (e.g. occupational) exposure. What is the risk of death, cancer, or crippling complication from a vaccine? There are no rigorous safety studies of sufficient power to rule out a much higher risk of complications, even one in 10,000, for vaccines. Such studies would require an adequate number of subjects, a long duration (years, not days), an unvaccinated control group (“placebo” must be truly inactive such as saline, not the adjuvant or everything-but-the-intended-antigen), and consideration of all adverse health events (including neurodevelopment disorders).

Vaccines are necessarily risky, as recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court and by Congress. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid some $4 billion in damages, and high hurdles must be surmounted to collect compensation. The damage may be so devastating that most people would prefer restored function to a multimillion-dollar damage award.

The smallpox vaccine is so dangerous that you can’t get it now, despite the weaponization of smallpox. Rabies vaccine is given only after a suspected exposure or to high-risk persons such as veterinarians. The whole-cell pertussis vaccine was withdrawn from the U.S. market, a decade later than from the Japanese market, because of reports of severe permanent brain damage. The acellular vaccine that replaced it is evidently safer, though somewhat less effective.

The risk: benefit ratio varies with the frequency and severity of disease, vaccine safety, and individual patient factors. These must be evaluated by patient and physician, not imposed by a government agency.

Measles is the much-publicized threat used to push for mandates, and is probably the worst threat among the vaccine-preventable illnesses because it is so highly contagious. There are occasional outbreaks, generally starting with an infected individual coming from somewhere outside the U.S. The majority, but by no means all the people who catch the measles have not been vaccinated. Almost all make a full recovery, with robust, life-long immunity. The last measles death in the U.S. occurred in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Are potential measles complications including death in persons who cannot be vaccinated due to immune deficiency a  justification for revoking the rights of all Americans and establishing a precedent for still greater restrictions on our right to give—or withhold—consent to medical interventions? Clearly not.

Many serious complications have followed MMR vaccination, and are listed in the manufacturers’ package insert, though a causal relationship may not have been proved. According to a 2012 report by the Cochrane Collaboration, “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate” (cited by the National Vaccine Information Center).

Mandate advocates often assert a need for a 95% immunization rate to achieve herd immunity. However, Mary Holland and Chase Zachary of NYU School of Law argue, in the Oregon Law Review, that because complete herd immunity and measles eradication are unachievable, the better goal is for herd effect and disease control. The best outcome would result, they argue, from informed consent, more open communication, and market-based approaches.

Even disregarding adverse vaccine effects, the results of near-universal vaccination have not been completely positive. Measles, when it does occur, is four to five times worse than in pre-vaccination times, according to Lancet Infectious Diseases, because of the changed age distribution: more adults, whose vaccine-based immunity waned, and more infants, who no longer receive passive immunity from their naturally immune mother to protect them during their most vulnerable period.

Measles is a vexing problem, and more complete, forced vaccination will likely not solve it. Better public health measures—earlier detection, contact tracing, and isolation; a more effective, safer vaccine; or an effective treatment are all needed. Meanwhile, those who choose not to vaccinate now might do so in an outbreak, or they can be isolated. Immunosuppressed patients might choose isolation in any event because vaccinated people can also possibly transmit measles even if not sick themselves.

Issues that Congress must consider:

Manufacturers are virtually immune from product liability, so the incentive to develop safer products is much diminished. Manufacturers may even refuse to make available a product believed to be safer, such as monovalent measles vaccine in preference to MMR (measles-mumps-rubella). Consumer refusal is the only incentive to do better.There are enormous conflicts of interest involving lucrative relationships with vaccine purveyors.Research into possible vaccine adverse effects is being quashed, as is dissent by professionals.There are many theoretical mechanisms for adverse effects from vaccines, especially in children with developing brains and immune systems. Note the devastating effects of Zika or rubella virus on developing humans, even though adults may have mild or asymptomatic infections. Many vaccines contain live viruses intended to cause a mild infection. Children’s brains are developing rapidly—any interference with the complex developmental symphony could be ruinous.Vaccines are neither 100% safe nor 100% effective. Nor are they the only available means to control the spread of disease.

AAPS believes that liberty rights are unalienable. Patients and parents have the right to refuse vaccination, although potentially contagious persons can be restricted in their movements (e.g. as with Ebola), as needed to protect others against a clear and present danger. Unvaccinated persons with no exposure to a disease and no evidence of a disease are not a clear or present danger.

AAPS represents thousands of physicians in all specialties nationwide. It was founded in 1943 to protect private medicine and the patient-physician relationship.

Respectfully yours,

Jane M. Orient, M.D., Executive Director
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons