George Mason University law professor Todd Zywicki is objecting to the school’s mandatory vaccine policy for faculty and students as a condition to returning to campus. Zywicki is raising an issue that is largely being ignored by the Administration and the media in the push for mandatory vaccine rules by private companies: the millions with natural antibodies to the virus. Zywicki recovered from the virus and says that blood tests confirm that he has antibodies. Given that test, he does not want to expose himself to an unnecessary vaccine given the risk (albeit low) of complications or a negative reaction.
Zywicki has taught at George Mason since 1998 and is being represented by the New Civil Liberties Alliance. The case could represent an important challenge. The Biden Administration has openly called on private companies to enforce an effective vaccine passport system. However, George Mason is a public institution. Even though it might be able to secure review under the low rational basis test, Zywicki and his supporting experts are saying that there is no rational basis to require him to be vaccinated against a virus that he already has antibodies to combat. Zywicki has relied on a letter from his physician who advised him not to get a vaccine. He also has a joint statement from Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford and Martin Kulldorff of Harvard, saying that it makes no sense to require him to get vaccinated when he shows such natural antibodies. They note that “the existing clinical literature overwhelmingly indicates that the protection afforded to the individual and community from natural immunity is as effective and durable as the efficacy levels of the most effective vaccines to date.” His case highlights a glaring issue in the failure of the Administration and private businesses to distinguish between unvaccinated individuals and individuals who are unvaccinated but with antibodies. I have not been able to find a clear answer on why people like Zywicki cannot show test on antibodies rather than proof of vaccinations. Studies indicate that recovered victims show the same level of antibodies. It seems like the issue should be antibodies whether produced naturally or through vaccinations. At a minimum, it is worth discussing. I was eager to receive the vaccine and my entire family took the first opportunity to become vaccinated. However, I would be interested in reading a full discussion of this issue. However, there are few places where such a discussion is occurring in an uncensored format.The media has portrayed anyone who does not get the vaccine as morons or even terrorists. However, millions have recovered from the virus and may be making the same decision as Zywicki. Part of the problem is that such debates are often banned by social media companies under their censorship policies. You are not allowed to discuss whether it is responsible for some like Zywicki to decline the vaccine due to natural antibodies. The university issued a statement that did not address Zywicki’s case directly or even the underlying question of requiring vaccinations for those with natural antibodies. One possibility is that the university could argue that the risk of vaccinations is so low that there is no reasonable basis for declining vaccination. On the other hand, it could claim that the variation among natural antibodies and the administrative burden is very high in allowing such exceptions to be claimed. However, it would seem like the university could simply require a test showing a minimum level of antibodies. It is an ironic fight in a school named after George Mason who was a fierce advocate for individual rights. Indeed, George Mason’s motto is “Freedom and Learning” and features the Declaration of Rights on its seal. Mason was the principal drafter of the Declaration.Update: It appears George Mason has granted an exception to Zywicki.