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CALIFORNIA, August 21, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The University of California will require all students, faculty, and staff to verify that they have been vaccinated for the flu by November 1, the university announced this month.
The order, issued by outgoing UC President (and former Obama Secretary of Homeland Security) Janet Napolitano, adds the influenza vaccine to the vaccinations already required for students and health care workers, and extends it to faculty and staff, according to the press release. The vaccines will be free under existing UC health insurance plans.
“A process will be put in place for faculty and staff to request medical exemptions,” the university added. “Requests for disability or religious accommodations will be handled through the interactive process consistent with existing location policies and procedures.”
A frequently-asked-questions page published by the university says the policy is meant to “help protect the UC community and reduce potential burdens on the health care system this flu season.”
Fear of hospitals flooded beyond capacity was the original justification for most of the COVID-19 measures adopted earlier this year, which have since morphed into indefinite mandates. But across the country, including California, the opposite problem resulted as hospitals laid off staff due to lack of patients. Coronavirus cases did spike this summer, occupying 7,000 of the state’s 50,000 hospital beds as of July 22, according to the California Hospital Association.
Notably, the FAQ also reveals that “those who are working from home and other remote locations” will still be required to vaccinate, despite not posing a risk of transmitting the virus to campus denizens.
Several academic institutions, such as Harvard University and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, have already made flu vaccinations a condition of returning to campus. A survey of 69 educational institutions from the consulting firm EAB also found that one in six plan to add punishment for violating “social distancing” guidelines as part of their student codes of conduct (with another 37 percent still considering that step).
While many frame vaccination as a prerequisite for fully reopening society, the prospect of making it mandatory remains controversial for a number of reasons, chief among them individual and parental choice.
Further, while the mainstream media often fixates on parents who oppose vaccines based on hotly-debated fears over side effects, they tend to overlook another group that supports vaccines in general while having an ethical conflict with vaccines derived from aborted babies’ cells.
“Fear of a disease — which we know very little about, relative to other similar diseases — must not lead to knee-jerk reactions regarding public health, nor can it justify supporting the hidden agenda of governmental as well as non-governmental bodies that have apparent conflicts of interest in plans to restrict personal freedoms,” says LifeSiteNews’ ongoing petition against mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, which has gathered more than 843,000 signatures.