Over 1,500 Sign Petition to Abolish Student-Athlete COVID-19 Booster Mandate

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
January 25, 2022Updated: January 25, 2022

Athletes at Arizona State University are protesting a COVID-19 vaccine booster mandate for students who want to participate in away games.

More than 1,700 people have signed an online petition titled “FREEDOM OF CHOICE: ASU STUDENT-ATHLETE COVID-19 BOOSTER PRACTICE” that calls on the university to give student-athletes the option to choose whether to receive the booster shot for COVID-19.

According to the petition, the university has mandated COVID-19 booster shots for basketball players, wrestlers and gymnasts to travel to away games. They say they were notified of the policy on Jan. 11.

The petition emphasizes that the university’s student-athletes aren’t “anti-vaccination” or “anti-booster,” but asks that their “decision and freedom to dictate what we do with our bodies” be respected.

“We are not downplaying or denying the intended use and research behind the COVID-19 vaccination booster shot,” the petition states. “We are simply asking for the freedom to make our own medical decisions regarding our personal health by exercising our First Amendment right to petition and voice our opinion.”

“In a collective and respectful agreement amongst the athletes of various sports teams at Arizona State, we are voicing our stance to fight for the right to dictate what we decide goes into our bodies regarding the COVID-19 vaccination booster shot,” the petition says.

“We stand in support with those who have received the booster and are not discrediting the choices and decisions that individuals have made for their personal health beliefs. However, we also stand in support of those who do not wish to receive the COVID-19 vaccination booster,” it reads.

AZFamily cited a university spokesman as saying that “an accommodation process” will be in place for those who are unable to be vaccinated or boosted for medical or religious reasons.

“As we continue to fight the latest wave of COVID-19, Sun Devil Athletics requires that student-athletes, staff and coaches who travel for competitions be up to date with booster vaccinations,” the spokesman said.

Epoch Times Photo
Kimani Lawrence #4 of the Arizona State Sun Devils blocks a shot by Aljaz Kunc #4 of the Washington State Cougars during the first round of the Pac-12 Conference basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 10, 2021. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Epoch Times has contacted Arizona State University for additional comment.

“We want to express that there should NOT be a forced decision to be made by us athletes that causes us to sacrifice the season and competition we come to Arizona State for. We feel as if the decision and freedom to dictate what we do with our bodies is no longer in our personal control due to this new practice,” the petition concludes.

Meanwhile, a South African study published on Jan. 18 in The Lancet found that the Omicron coronavirus variant is able to evade the protection gained from mRNA COVID-19 vaccines such as those made by Pfizer and Moderna.

The study examined some of the first documented breakthrough cases of the highly transmissible Omicron strain, which emerged in South Africa in late October 2021.

Between late November 2021 and early December 2021, a group of seven Germans who had received three vaccine doses, including at least two doses of an mRNA vaccine, visited Cape Town, South Africa, and subsequently developed symptomatic COVID-19. None of the individuals had reported a history of COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

The cases among the group were the first documented breakthrough infections with the Omicron variant in fully vaccinated individuals after receipt of booster vaccine doses, according to the study.