A George Mason University law professor is suing the school over its vaccine mandate, arguing that he has already acquired immunity after recovering from COVID-19 and therefore shouldn’t have to be vaccinated.
Todd Zywicki, who is about to begin his 24th year teaching at George Mason in Virginia, said he contracted the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus in spring 2020. He has taken multiple positive antibody tests since his recovery, and the tests suggested a high level of immune protection against the virus, he said.
Zywicki said he volunteered to teach in person last year, but the university’s vaccination policy makes it difficult for him to do so this fall.
“My employer, a state institution, is requiring COVID vaccines. In my case, vaccination is unnecessary and potentially risky,” he wrote in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal. “My only other options are to teach remotely or to seek a medical exemption that would require me to wear a mask, remain socially distanced from faculty or students during, say, office hours, and submit to weekly testing.”
At George Mason, all students were required to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination by Aug. 1, except for online-only students and those who have an approved medical or religious exemption. Faculty and staff must have at least one COVID-19 shot by Aug. 15 and submit proof of full vaccination by Oct. 1.
According to the university’s website, students and employees can meet the vaccination requirement by receiving any vaccine approved by the World Health Organization. That includes China-produced Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, the effectiveness of which remains in question.
“Whatever the university’s reasoning for endorsing these low-quality vaccines while slighting natural immunity, it clearly doesn’t stand up on public-health grounds,” Zywicki said.
Zywicki further argued that not only is COVID-19 vaccination unnecessary for him, but it could be potentially dangerous.
“COVID-recovered individuals have been mostly excluded from the vaccine clinical trials, rendering any claims about the purported safety for this group largely speculative,” Zywicki wrote, citing a March 2021 study that suggests that COVID-19 survivors are more likely to experience severe side effects from vaccination than those who have never been infected.
In an emailed statement, the university said it has no comment on the specifics of Zywicki’s lawsuit, adding that the school’s decisions have been guided by “currently available medical and scientific information” and guidelines issued by federal and state public health agencies.
“Based on this information and guidance, we believe that the steps we are taking will best protect the health and safety of the Mason community and allow the Mason community to engage in a vibrant in-person campus experience,” the university said.