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(LifeSiteNews) – Three prominent academic institutions in Virginia rescinded their COVID-19 vaccine mandate policies in another victory for new Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares.

On Friday, Miyares released a legal opinion that while the state legislature has the authority to impose vaccination requirements for higher education attendance, universities do not have the power to do so themselves for a vaccine that is not already on the state’s list of required immunizations.

Since then, Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, George Mason University President Gregory Washington, and University of Virginia President Jim Ryan have all issued statements confirming the end of their schools’ vaccine mandates, the Daily Wire reported.

While opponents of vaccine mandates are pleased with the concession, some are waiting to see the institutions keep their word before celebrating.

>“Given the hesitant language University President Gregory Washington used in announcing the end of the mask mandate, and the fact that the university promised an end to the mask mandate more than a semester ago, I’m not confident the university can be trusted to keep its word,” law student Jacob Meckler told The Federalist. “Beyond that, because the university is acknowledging that masks lack much utility at this point in the pandemic, any delay in dropping the mask mandate is inexcusable.”

“The fractured trust between students and the administration will take years to heal, years in which the university must return to treating its students like the adults they are,” Meckler lamented.

Many Americans continue to harbor serious reservations as to the COVID vaccines’ safety, stemming in large part from the rushed nature of their creation. The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative developed and released the shots in a tenth of the time vaccine development usually takes and a quarter of the time it took the previous record-holder, the mumps vaccine, yet their advocates have done little to address the concerns of the hesitant.

Data shows that young people are at little to no risk from COVID-19. In the summer of 2021, a team of researchers with Johns Hopkins School of Medicine examined approximately 48,000 COVID-diagnosed individuals below age 18 from April to August 2020 and found a “mortality rate of zero among children without a pre-existing medical condition such as leukemia.” The lead researcher, Dr. Marty Makary, accused the CDC of basing its advocacy of school COVID vaccination on “flimsy data.”

Meanwhile, even experts otherwise friendly to the new shots — as acknowledged last July by the left-leaning publication Wired — argue that the potential for vaccine-related myocarditis among young males undermines the public health establishment’s persistent refrain that “the benefits of [COVID-19] vaccination far outweigh any harm.”

Ultimately, data indicates that widespread dissemination of the COVID vaccines has failed to end the pandemic. The federal government considers more than 211 million Americans (almost 64% of the eligible) to be “fully vaccinated” (a moving target given the vaccines’ temporary nature), yet data from Johns Hopkins University reported in October shows that more Americans died of COVID-19 by that point in 2021 (353,000) than in all of 2020 (352,000). The Moderna vaccine has been available throughout all of 2021; the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson shots were made available in late February.

Attorney General Miyares and new Gov. Glenn Youngkin have been proactive in tackling COVID-19 mandates and other conservative priorities such as banning the promotion of critical race theory in public schools; clarifying that parents have the sole right to decide whether their children wear masks in public schools; rolling back COVID-related business regulations; rescinding COVID vaccine mandates for all state employees; and investigating the Loudoun Country school board for allegedly covering up the sexual assault of a student by a “transgender” classmate.

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