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BYU-Hawaii denies vaccine exemption for student with autoimmune disorder

“This is not a choice for me," Olivia Sandor explains.
Mon Jul 19, 2021 - 11:39 am EST
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LAIE, Hawaii, July 19, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) - A university student has been denied entry into Brigham Young University-Hawaii (BYU) because she cannot take the COVID-19 vaccine as a result of a potentially vaccine-induced condition.  

In June, BYU in Hawaii mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for all students and staff. One student, Olivia Sandor, appealed for a medical exemption because she suffers from Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disease affecting the nervous system, which can be triggered by vaccination. 

Sandor says in a July 13 Instagram post that she was paralyzed from the waist down after taking an influenza vaccine in 2019. She eventually regained her ability to walk; however, her doctors have warned her that taking another vaccine could result in permanent paralysis or death.  

Taking the COVID-19 vaccine “could end in permanent paralysis, and possibly death if it spread up my body,” she explains. “This is not a choice for me. The CDC has strongly advised against it and so have all of my medical providers.” 

Sandor says her doctors sent the university documentation verifying her statement, but BYU has failed to recognize Sandor’s condition, demanding that she receive the vaccine regardless of the serious threat to her life. She then appealed to the President of BYU Hawaii, John S.K. Kauwe III, explaining her condition. The president promised to review her case. Four days later, he replied that the university still insists she be vaccinated.  

LifeSite has reached out to Kauwe for a comment on the situation, but has not received a response by the time of publication. 

BYU’s Director of Health Services Laurie Abregano suggested that Sandor take either the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine. University physician Dr. Ember Christensen claimed that the Moderna vaccine has not “shown any association with triggering GBS.”  

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Turning Point USA has reported other such cases at BYU. In one, a student with only one semester remaining is being denied completion of his degree because he was unwilling to take the experimental vaccine. Another senior student said he appealed the mandate but was told by BYU that “If you don’t want the vaccine, then you won’t be allowed to come to school and will need to go elsewhere.” 

Many American colleges and universities are mandating the experimental vaccine for in-person learning this fall, despite evidence of dangerous possible side effects. Many international colleges, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, and Cornell will be forcing their students and staff be vaccinated.   

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here.


  academia, brigham young university, brigham young university-hawaii, college, covid-19, covid-19 vaccine, guillain-barre syndrome, hawaii, higher education, vaccine mandates

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