March 28, 2023
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA — Duke University has consistently ranked in the top 15 for academic and research institutions in the U.S. for decades. The university is best known for the Blue Devils basketball program and Coach Mike Krzyzewski. One of the most famous moments in March Madness history happened on March 28, 1992. Duke was down by one point against Kentucky in an Elite Eight game at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. The rest is history.
Duke went on to win its second NCAA Championship in a row, and become one of the most hated teams in the country thereafter. But Duke is also known for its medical school (ranked #6 nationally), law school (#11 nationally), and its nursing school (#2 nationally).
Duke isn’t an “Ivy League School” per se. But it’s extremely difficult to get accepted into the school. Only 6 out of every 100 applicants are accepted for undergraduate admission on an annual basis. Few schools, i.e. Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford, are harder to get into. They only accept 4 out of every 100 applicants.
You must be extremely book smart and disciplined to get into Duke. But book smarts cannot and do not replace street smarts and common sense. That phenomenon has played itself out on the campuses of all prestigious U.S. universities, in the form of vaccine mandates.
Duke student says no to booster shots
Every Ivy League school and all other “smart” schools mentioned in this article instituted mRNA and viral vector DNA mandates early. Duke was one of the first universities in the United States to mandate the injections. Administrators announced the mandate on April 9, 2021. The other early adopters were Ivy League and “prestigious” schools like Notre Dame.
Duke announced on December 20, 2021 that all students and staff must receive booster shots by February 15, 2022 or within 28 days of their eligibility according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) schedule. Most students willingly and/or quietly went along with the booster mandate. But at least one student drew a line in the sand.
A Duke University graduate student contacted COVID Legal USA earlier this month. They originally agreed to be interviewed by The COVID Blog® to tell their story in full. But at the last hour, they decided that it would be in their best interest to remain anonymous. The story is compelling nonetheless, and needs to be told for others facing the same crossroads.
RELATED: Colorado, North Carolina vaccine clinics halt Johnson & Johnson doses due to adverse reactions (April 9, 2021)
The student complied with the original vaccine mandate, and received a Johnson & Johnson viral vector DNA injection in March 2021. He contracted so-called COVID-19 in December 2021, and thus, they argued, also had natural immunity. But prior to the so-called COVID-19 infection, the 30-year-old student started digging beyond mainstream media propaganda. They became concerned about receiving any further vaccines after the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration (FDA) and CDC paused administration of the J&J injections due to blood clots.
The student spoke to their primary care physician about the risks of receiving additional mRNA or viral vector DNA injections. The doctor wrote a medical exemption request for the booster mandate, emphasizing that the risks far outweigh any potential benefits. The Duke University Exemption Review Board summarily denied the request. The university threatened to terminate both the student’s enrollment in graduate school and their university job on March 15 for non-compliance with the booster mandate.
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An “appeal” email was sent the day following the exemption denial. The student, citing several scientific studies, implored Duke to honor the decision made between a patient and medical provider. The following are some of the points presented in the appeal email:
- “It is my hope that my personal medical decision made between me and my doctor would be honored, as we both believe that a risk-benefit analysis does not support that I receive another dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.”
- “I am in one of the highest risk categories from COVID-19 vaccination adverse events. While rare, I do not wish to take on the risk of permanent damage to my heart tissue and other organs with no appreciable benefit.”
- “[Duke Employee Occupational Health & Wellness] suggested I take the Novavax adjuvanted protein subunit vaccine as an alternative, however this product has also been associated with risk of myocarditis and other adverse events.
RELATED: Three Novavax adverse reaction cases in Australia have similarities, as propaganda centers around convincing “anti-vaxxers” that Novavax is different from the others (March 9, 2022)
The email concluded with the student reminding Duke that they complied with the initial mandate, but “I do not support the current mandate to require booster shots.” The student also encouraged Duke to reconsider its booster mandate because it forces a “difficult decision of personal and medical ethics.”
Duke wrote the student back the very next day, informing them that the medical exemption was now approved. The university, according to the student, has also now changed its booster policy.
The student was very happy with the outcome.
“Duke was responsive to my internal complaint, and has changed the booster policy university wide,” the student told The COVID Blog®. “The lead nurse told me over the phone that she had not seen any of the data I provided, and that they are discussing it internally now with a more critical eye.”
We contacted Duke University to confirm or deny the changes to their booster mandate. Mr. Paul Grantham is the Assistant Vice President and Deputy Emergency Coordinator at Duke University. The university did in fact change its policy for certain students and staff, but not all of them. Mr. Grantham wrote:
“Like many organizations, Duke is in a period of transition with some of its COVID protocols given the increase in community immunity levels and decline in severity of illness.
Duke Health—which includes the Duke University Health System, the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, the Private Diagnostic Clinic, and Duke Health Integrated Practice—recently announced it was ending the booster as a condition of employment, but the primary series is still required. The vaccination protocols for other students, faculty and staff in the university are currently being assessed for potential changes.”
The changes will take effect on April 3, 2023.
University vaccine mandates rest on flimsy legal foundations. The federal courts continue striking down vaccine mandates for both employees and students. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an en banc (full court) 10-6 decision on March 23. The 89-page opinion, once again, halted Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal workers. A 2-1 decision by a Fifth Circuit panel had reinstated the Biden mandate on April 8, 2022. The latest opinion reversed said panel’s decision, mostly on procedural grounds.
The Court rejected Biden’s argument that, as President, he has the same powers as a private corporate CEO to institute vaccine mandates for his employees. The case was remanded back to the Southern District of Texas, with the Fifth Circuit emphasizing that the COVID-19 “emergency” ends on May 11, 2023.
It’s a different story in New York. The state appellate court, on February 28, issued a stay of a lower court ruling from January that halted the statewide vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. The instant order reinstated the mandate. A final ruling on the merits will come during the court’s next session, which commences on May 15.
RELATED: U.S. Supreme Court stays enforcement of Biden vaccine mandate for employers with 100-plus workers, but allows vaccine mandate for healthcare workers (January 13, 2022)
Most universities and employers simply expect students and workers to obey vaccine mandates without any push back. All it normally takes is a scientifically and legally-sound letter or email, firmly stating your position against vaccine and booster mandates.
Granted this instant case involved a medical exemption written by the student’s long-time doctor. The outcome would have likely been different had the doctor been a random online physician with no established relationship with the patient. There is simply no legal basis for universities and employers to deny religious and proper medical exemptions.
It would have been nice for this student to put a name and face on this very important issue. It was a significant victory in the grand scheme of things. There’s very little you can do to mitigate the inevitable once you’ve received the injections. Just do not receive any further shots/boosters. That is the best, and only way, to potentially prolong life post-injection.
Stay vigilant and protect your friends and loved ones.
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