Hundreds of students at a New Jersey university held a rally against its mandatory Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination rule. Rutgers University students and their parents gathered on May 21 to oppose the school’s vaccination requirement for face-to-face classes. This March, the university ordered that all students enrolled for in-person classes for the fall semester must get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Turning Point USA, Young Americans for Liberty and medical freedom advocacy group NJ Stands Up organized the May 21 protest. Some Republican state lawmakers who attended the rally proposed measures to fight forced vaccination and discriminations against unvaccinated Americans.

New Jersey GOP Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger warned the rally participants that every time authorities pull back some of their freedom, it is gone forever and they “will never get it back.” He added: “Allowing [authorities] to mandate vaccines to get into Rutgers … is a slippery slope. They’re going to keep moving the goalposts until they dictate every aspect of your life.”

GOP State Senator Michael Testa Jr. questioned the university’s order, saying: “How can they mandate students [to] get the vaccine, but not the faculty?” Rutgers’s March 21 order stated that faculty and staff members are not required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He then urged the participants to contact their legislators and “inundate their offices with letters [and] emails” on every single important issue – not just on the matter of mandatory inoculation.

Meanwhile, pastor and New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Phil Rizzo said that he will rescind $1 billion allocated from Rutgers if elected. The GOP candidate added that unless the university drops its vaccine mandates and assures student liberty, he will make good with his promise. “I trust New Jersey residents, business owners and parents to make decisions for themselves with their [doctors] to keep themselves healthy. It’s not the government’s job to keep you healthy: [Its] job [is] to keep you free,” he added.

Rutgers spokeswoman Dory Devlin told The Epoch Times in an email that its position on vaccines aligns with “the legal authority supporting this policy.” She added: “We are committed to creating a safe campus environment in fall 2021. [To] support the health and safety for all members of the Rutgers community, the university has updated existing immunization requirements for students to include the COVID-19 vaccine.”

However, the mandate also provided some exceptions. Students enrolled in fully remote online programs are not required to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The Rutgers mandate also allowed students to request for exemptions on medical or religious grounds.

One school went against the grain by banning vaccinated faculty members on campus

Meanwhile, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian Strom said the COVID-19 vaccines “have proven to be safe and effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death.” He added: “Vaccination is key to stopping the current pandemic and to [returning] campus instruction and activities closer to what we were accustomed to before the pandemic.”

Back in March, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm sent a letter to Rutgers regarding safety risks associated with COVID-19 vaccines. “Indiscriminately vaccinating persons with recent COVID-19 infections poses a risk of clinical harm to recently infected [individuals.] There have been some very prominent young deaths following vaccination – and it is becoming clear that adverse [events] … are higher,” he warned. 

Noorchashm also raised concerns about vaccinating students who achieved natural immunity and advised against inoculating naturally immune students. “Some experts believe that natural immunity may even be more robust than vaccine immunity,” he wrote. Noorchashm said natural immunity arises after a bout of COVID-19 and can be detected through antibody tests. The percentage of naturally infected individuals could be higher in the college-age population, he added.

While Rutgers mandated students to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a private school in Miami has prohibited its employees from getting the shot altogether. Back in April 2021, Centner Academy sent out an email asking employees who had not yet received the vaccine to “wait until the end of the school year” before doing so. The email added: “It is our policy, to the extent possible, not to employ anyone who has taken the experimental COVID-19 [vaccine] until further information is known.” 

The Miami-based school threatened legal action toward staff members who refuse to disclose their vaccination status. CBS 4 was informed that one Centner Academy teacher had resigned – but it was unclear if this stemmed from the policy. The news station reached out to request an interview, but the school only replied with an email that said: “We’re doing what we think is in the best interest of the children, because [they] shouldn’t be around teachers who are vaccinated.”

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