The Chronicle of Higher Education published an astonishing list of 195 colleges and universities, both public and private, that will require all students to receive the COVID-19 vaccination to attend classes on campus in the fall. It would be astonishing if no students challenged this requirement based on the status of the vaccine alone. According to the FDA, the vaccines for COVID-19 are still considered investigational:
The FDA defines an investigational drug as experimental:
An investigational drug can also be called an experimental drug and is being studied to see if your disease or medical condition improves while taking it. Scientists are trying to prove in clinical trials:
- If the drug is safe and effective.
- How the drug might be used in that disease.
- How much of the drug is needed.
- Information about the potential benefits and risks of taking the drug.
No one should be forced to be part of a clinical trial. This decision should be made between a patient and a healthcare provider based on many factors, including the risk of severe disease, the likely efficacy of current treatments, and other criteria. It might even include a second opinion. These universities ignore both fundamental features of our medical system and the right to informed consent and a second opinion. These are especially important for an investigational drug. In an open letter from the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, President Paul M. Kempen, M.D., Ph.D. notes: