Tenured George Mason Professor Is Granted Medical Exemption in Recognition of His COVID-19 Natural Immunity

Tenured George Mason Professor Is Granted Medical Exemption in Recognition of His COVID-19 Natural Immunity
AP Photo/Hans Pennink

Lawsuit battles over vaccine mandates continue to heat up across the country. The Independent Restaurant Owners Association Rescue (IROAR) filed a lawsuit against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over the vaccine mandate he imposed on indoor dining venues, entertainment establishments, and fitness studios.

Those seeking redress: individuals who have pre-existing conditions where a vaccine would do them harm rather than help, and those who have had COVID-19 and recovered, and their natural immunity is equivalent, if not more robust, than the current vaccines.

Todd Zywicki, a 24-year tenured law professor at George Mason University (GMU), won a victory in his lawsuit which he filed against his employer. Two weeks ago, Zywicki took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to explain why he was suing GMU, and why recognition of natural immunity was important.

If I were not already naturally immune to Covid, I would have long ago gotten vaccinated at the first opportunity. But for those of us who have acquired natural immunity, vaccination provides none of the benefits of vaccination with all of the costs.

Just The News discussed the terms of the concession. While the university had no plans of changing its vaccine mandate policy at this time, it granted Zywicki a medical exemption:

George Mason University granted a veteran law professor a medical exemption from its COVID-19 vaccine mandate after he filed a lawsuit demanding recognition of his natural immunity, according to his lawyers.

But the Virginia public university has not updated its policy to recognize recovery from prior infection, as proven by antibody testing, as an accepted alternative to vaccination or exemptions for religious or medical reasons.

For that reason, the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) said it “continues to explore litigation against GMU.” The public interest law firm implied it’s scrutinizing other Virginia public universities, asking COVID-recovered faculty to get in touch if their schools are “similarly disregarding the scientific facts surrounding naturally acquired immunity.”

Zywicki has also advocated on Twitter for his right to have his natural immunity recognized. Zywicki recently tweeted studies about the occurrence of disease variants, and natural immunity, and vaccines, which supported his arguments.

Just The News further reported that Zywicki will not suffer any disciplinary action, and is required to be tested weekly, wear a mask and maintain social distancing when teaching his courses or conducting office hours, as well as engaging in meetings with colleagues.

The university issued a lengthy statement late Wednesday to rebut unspecified “public reports,” emphasizing GMU “has not entered into any settlement” with Zywicki and that it can’t comment on his exemption status under state law.

It has not and “does not plan to give” natural-immunity exemptions, which “would not be consistent with current medical science or public health guidance.” The university cited CDC and FDA guidance but not published research.

“Professor Zywicki has been treated the same as any other Mason employee and is required to comply with all Mason policies regarding vaccination, testing, face coverings, physical distancing, and other COVID safety precautions,” GMU said. “His litigation had no impact on the consideration of his request for a medical exemption from the vaccination requirement.”

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