It’s time to stop the Covid “safety charade.” 

We’re almost two years into the pandemic, yet the draconian mandates continue. Only the vaccinated who are willing to show their vaccination card can dine in Philadelphia or attend events held at venues in the city. Masks and vaccine mandates have all been employed under the guise of “keeping everyone safe.” 

What an absolute farce! The mayor and city officials know that people are going to contract Covid, particularly the latest variant Omicron, despite these mandates. Let’s not forget, this is a virus, and it can’t be controlled. The virus is going to do whatever it takes to survive, and Covid-19 isn’t going to disappear.

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With the Omicron variant spreading like wildfire, local colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Villanova University, St. Joseph’s University, and Cabrini University are now implementing booster shot mandates for their students. Mandating booster shots for young healthy people, however, is misguided and has little scientific basis. Booster shots are not going to stop the spread of Omicron because there are millions of people across the country who are double- and triple-vaxxed but who are still getting infected with Covid. A friend recently told me her son got the booster shot that his college mandated before returning to campus this month, and then he contracted Covid and had to quarantine in an isolation room. This is precisely why booster mandates infuriate me: They defy common sense and the new realities of this pandemic. 

While vaccinations have helped keep many people out of the hospital and reduced the severity of symptoms, they obviously haven’t stopped people from getting infected with the Delta and Omicron variants. (For the record, I am pro-vaccine but against mandating them.) The Covid-19 virus has outsmarted all the vaccines, which were designed to combat the original strain, and lessened their efficacy against the new variants. If only college administrators were as smart as viruses.

My son is among a massive cohort of students who got infected with Omicron over the winter break, yet he is being forced to get a booster shot that he doesn’t want or need. He was double vaxxed and still got Covid. Even if he had received the booster shot, I’m certain he would have contracted the highly contagious Omicron variant. Everyone’s “Covid-shot clock” is going to run out eventually. It’s only a matter of time.

Many physicians across this country assert that booster mandates are unnecessary for healthy young people and may cause harm, particularly in young men and those who have already been infected. Dr. Vinay Prasad, a hematologist-oncologist and associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, stated, “Universities have overreached with boosting mandates for young healthy people. Omicron’s dwindling VE (vaccine efficacy) busts the case.” Dr. Prasad also has shared research about the risks of young men experiencing myocarditis after receiving the Covid vaccines. 

In a recent article in The Atlantic, Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center and professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “advised his own son, who is in his 20s, not to get a third dose.” Dr. Offit said he thought “his son is well protected against serious illness with two shots, so a third just isn’t necessary.” I wholeheartedly agree with his advice.

While vaccinations have helped keep many people out of the hospital and reduced the severity of symptoms, they obviously haven’t stopped people from getting infected with the Delta and Omicron variants.

So why are colleges implementing these booster mandates? It’s all about appearances and appeasement. College administrators don’t really care about what is in the best interest of students: booster mandates are all about promoting their safety charade, placating key constituents, and protecting their cash flow. They say the mandate is about safety and caring for others, but these decisions are based on dollars and cents, not common sense. 

Appeasing board members, faculty members, and donors is apparently more important than giving their already-vaccinated students the freedom to make their own health decisions. (I doubt many religious or medical exemptions have been granted.) These university administrators are essentially saying, “We know what’s best for your health and the health of everyone else on campus, so you must get the shot,” but I don’t think so. 

Students at Stanford University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania are fighting back and have circulated petitions arguing against these heavy-handed mandates. More college students need to join this effort and say no to these maddening mandates. 

People are tired of bureaucratic nonsense. It’s time to push back against the absurd notion that mandates will “keep everyone safe.”

Elena Perri is a communications professional who lives in Delaware County.

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