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Group of parents, students calls on UConn to withdraw vaccine mandate

By Kaitlyn Naples

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    Connecticut (WFSB) — A group of parents and students are rallying together, calling on the University of Connecticut to withdraw its policy mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for students.

On behalf of hundreds of UConn college students and parents, the Family Freedom Endeavor, Inc., said it is ordering the university to withdraw the policy by July 2, or face a lawsuit.

The Family Freedom Endeavor, Inc. (FFE) is a nonprofit organization providing representation and litigation involving the defense and promotion of civil rights, primarily for families and children.

It says the new vaccination policy is unlawful and goes against a person’s constitutional rights.

This demand comes after the state’s college and universities said it is requiring students to get a COVID vaccine. It joins Yale, Wesleyan, UHart, and UConn in the vaccine mandate.

“Federal law states COVID-19 vaccines cannot be mandated under emergency use authorization (EUA),” stated The Family Freedom Endeavor, Inc.’s attorney, Ryan McLane said in a press release. “FFE asserts the mandates are unlawful as a matter of federal law and go against individual Constitutional rights to bodily autonomy. The organization highlights Connecticut’s already high vaccination rates and has submitted FOIA requests for documentation regarding COVID-19 vaccine funding – sources and how funds have and will be spent. Furthermore, FFE demands the withdrawal of mandate policies by July 2, 2021 or states it will take legal action.”

One parent in the letter called the mandate reckless.

The group said it is concerned about the long-term effects in young adults and the cases of heart issues linked to the vaccine.

“The age group we are dealing with the COVID virus really doesn’t affect them as it does let’s say 80 and above,” said Vincent Delaney, of The Family Freedom Endeavor, Inc.

The letter refers to a link between the vaccine and a risk for myocarditis and pericarditis within the adolescent and young adult age group.

Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration added a warning about the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis, inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart, to fact sheets for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

Students have until July 31 to upload their vaccine status before the fall semester.

“The students don’t have a lot of time to make this decision, so you know, the ultimate goal is to have the mandate removed,” Ryan McClane said.

On UConn’s website, the university said, in part, “The goal of this policy is to help safeguard health and wellness on our campuses and in our communities.”

In response to the letter, UConn said “UConn’s polling of students found the vast majority said they are willing and want to receive the vaccine, and would support such a policy.”

A spokesperson for UConn also said “the policy also recognizes that there are many reasons why a student might not be able to get the vaccine or would not wish to do so, and provides latitude for them to seek exemptions.”

The group said UConn hasn’t responded to their letter yet.

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