When they rolled out earlier this year, my college-aged daughter shared that she was not interested in getting the COVID shot. Growing up watching her younger brother suffer through a vaccine injury, she knows that health doesn’t come in the form of a jab. I wish others her age had the knowledge she naturally gained when her brother fell ill. I’m grateful they were spared watching a sibling suffer, but past personal experience certainly does help shape future medical decisions.
I hadn’t worried that Ronan’s big sister would opt for the experimental injectable until a little over 2 weeks ago. That’s when her college announced their return-to-campus plans. The vaccine hadn’t been required, per previous parent reports, up to and well past the college’s May 1st acceptance day date. But getting that experimental vaccine is now part of a new protocol to keep the campus “safe” and fully in-person.
For many, that decision was perceived as a huge relief. Finally! We can go back to normal! some parents shared on the school’s family page online. Good, everyone should be vaccinated, was another type of response offered. Others, like myself, were not quickly celebrating this rash, so it seemed, decision. Incredibly disappointed, I added a comment stating my frustration.
Later, finding each other off the family page, other parents and I banded together to discuss this unexpected change.
A Bit of a Back Story
Several restrictions were put into place when news of the coronavirus hit last year, but campus never completely shut down during the 2020-2021 school year. Classes were still held, and grades were still being recorded. Only a few colleges, I believe, could boast that.
During both semesters last year, COVID spread through the student population at my daughter’s school as it did through many other schools. Since it is a virus, that was to be expected. Like other places, the school had procedures set up to minimize the spread and to care for students who contracted it. Providing separate housing for the duration of the illness, including for my daughter, the few outbreaks that did occur were handled quickly and, we thought, well.
Thinking the worst behind her, we expected that the upcoming school year would start a little less rocky.
Oh, how wrong we were.
The new requirement for the Fall includes getting one of the experimental COVID vaccines or asking for an exemption to be granted. If the exemption is approved, it will be noticeable who is and who isn’t vaccinated as masks must be worn by the unvaccinated. Basing fear over facts, those students, and faculty and staff who also decline one of the 3 EUAs, will be treated as 2nd class citizens. They, and only they, will face COVID-related restrictions, some that are no longer being practiced in the surrounding local communities.
The same requirements were happening on other campuses, too.
I saw that several colleges in New England, along the East Coast and in the Midwest were making similar announcements within days of each other. Some were Ivy League. Some were not. Some were private. Some were not. I couldn’t find a link that connected each of these institutions, so I kept reading. I also took the time to reach out and asked my daughter’s college who was making these outrageous demands. When I heard this group mentioned 3x in our conversation, I thought Bingo!
Connecting the Dots
Besides following the state and the Department of Health guidelines, the announcement about re-opening was coming from the American College Health Association (ACHA). The more I dug for information on this group, the less ironic it was to see ACHA also listed in other schools’ recent vaccine announcements.
The “ACHA represents over 800 institutions of higher education and the collective health and wellness needs of 20 million college students. ACHA serves nearly 5,500 individual college health and wellness professionals and leaders of all disciplines united together to advance the health and wellness of college students”. Source: ACHA
After reading their About Page, I followed the money. My biggest questions were who is funding this group that has had countless colleges so late in the game change their reopening protocols, and why?? Looking at the programs they support, I checked to see who their audience is, who is backing them, and how were they able to get a stronghold on so many. I was not surprised the more I researched. ACHA partners with pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer.
The Campus COVID-19 Vaccine Initiative (CoVAC) is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Cooperative Agreement, CDC-RFA-CK20-2003.
Screenshots of the ACHA’s FB page.
Their agenda is clear: they’ve a massive push to get shots in arms. How? Through intimidation, by placing pressure on students via campus community members, through influencers, and with loads of help from the government, including the White House.
Exemptions are available for students to submit, but those can come with strings attached. I don’t know how because across the states, laws protecting those who decline a vaccine are already on the books. None of those existing exemptions, it should be noted, come with any sort of language that requires masking or mandatory quarantining like the new school-generated COVID vaccine exemptions do. Why are these exemptions different?
Who Do You Think You Are?
Who gave these schools the right to change legal documents that went through and passed state legislation? Why were they rewritten? And when submitted by the student or the parent, who is going to assess them “on a case-by-case basis”? I asked for the criteria should my daughter want to submit the exemption. Shouldn’t the students and their parents see what points need to made when writing something they’ve never had to write before? What if what’s been submitted isn’t ‘religious’ enough? Who are they to judge someone’s religiousness? Are they going to deny a medical exemption for not being “medical” enough? And, by the way, who is judging these documents? I, along with others, did not receive answers to those questions, but I did find this document. paeaonline.org
Page 21 is telling.
It is so very telling.
If you don’t read any of the 34 pages of that document, or the posted follow-up FAQs, read this bolded sentence in the guidelines provided in ACHA’s Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Level Education for the Fall Semester 2021.
It says everything.
Returning to pre-pandemic classroom conditions should be contingent upon the level of campus vaccination.
Read it again.
Returning to pre-pandemic classroom conditions should be contingent upon the level of campus vaccination.
The statement tells me that the requirement to get the COVID vaccine has nothing to do with the student’s health or with the student’s best interest. It would seem that the decision to demand it is based on how many of the student body and faculty can be vaccinated and how quickly.
The level of vaccination? Is that what’s pushing these schools to make these kids jump through fiery hoops? Not the level of the individual’s health. Not the level of antibodies created by students who’ve already contracted COVID. Nope. The level of vaccinations on campus. That’s it. So be damned if you question any of the experimental vaccines. And face a level of discrimination if you don’t opt for any of them before classes start.
Then, The Bribery
Dates to submit vaccine information or exemptions comes, for some colleges, after the Fall tuition bill is due. To make matters worse, as if coercing healthy young adults and threatening them with unnecessary restrictions isn’t bad enough, those who haven’t submitted one of the acceptable school-generated exemptions or a vaccination card, are now being incentivized to quickly comply.
Call it an incentive or a clever form of bribery, people are fighting back. These students saw through the shenanigans and filed a lawsuit. With other schools charging testing fees only for unvaccinated students, I foresee that other student and parent groups will look toward legal action as well.
Where Do I Go From Here?
In my personal searches, I found many other parents with similar concerns. We’ve reached out to each other. We’ve reached out to the schools. We’ve reached out to governors, attorney generals and various state representatives. We’ve also reached out to lawyers. I’m not finished addressing requirements placed on the entire community at my daughter’s school. Others aren’t either. I don’t have a solid solution yet, but I do have some initial suggestions if others find themselves in the same situation.
Find other like-minded parents.
Find other like-minded students.
Your college and university social media pages where the latest vaccine announcements are posting will garner lots of comments. Look for the people there who are also not in favor of experimental vaccines. Reach out to them privately. Then create a group page, or an email thread, where you can talk. Get organized, like other parents are, and work together on a plan.
Before you communicate with the school as a group, be sure that everyone has individually contacted someone within the administrative offices. People can begin their conversation with how this requirement affects their child and them personally. Ask all the questions, the ones you already know the answers to and also the hard ones. I started off my conversation politely, not just because it’s nice to be nice. But because I needed that one person who had all the information to tell me everything she knew. Other people may have called and yelled, or have given the college a what for, or have threatened to take legal action before they had all of the answers. Yelling angrily is a strategy, but it has the potential to immediately turn people away, including the people who might be able to help. I used a different tactic and got most of my questions answered immediately.
Other things I’d suggest is to take notes, keep track of who you speak to and see who gets cc’d on replies from the school. Some parents are taking matters outside of the usual chain of command and are including political figures in their messages to college representatives. If guidelines are coming down from the state, your message should go up to their offices, too.
We, the parents, the disappointed and the discouraged ones, are the minority. So are our college-aged children who know that experimental vaccines are not going to get things back to normal on campus or anywhere. Regardless, their voice and our voices matter. I don’t know if anything that I’ve asked my daughter’s college to change will be changed. But I’m not going to stand by and let anyone entrap, bribe or pressure her.
Stand Up, and Fight.
I’ve been fighting for my son who is vaccine injured for the past 16 years. I never thought I’d have to fight illogical protocols over an illness that has a better recovery rate than the vaccine’s efficacy rate. Here I am, though, along with thousands of other parents who are standing up to hundreds of higher level institutions across the United States of America. For our children, and for their future, I pray we make a difference.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for the Age of Autism.
Pressing down on you, no man ask for
Under pressure that burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streets