Quinnipiac University in Connecticut will be fining and cutting internet access for students who do not get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a new report.
The Quinnipiac Chronicle, the school’s student newspaper, received an email from Quinnipiac’s Associate Vice President for Public Relations John Morgan detailing the mandate.
“Students who don’t comply with the mandate will face a weekly fee starting at $100 per week during the first two weeks. It will increase by $25 every two weeks up to a maximum of $200 a week. The fee can reach up to $2,275 for the entire semester,” The Chronicle reported.
The email warned that students will also lose access to campus Wi-Fi if they have not been vaccinated by September 14th.
Unvaccinated students are also required to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing, with a $100 fine each time they miss a week. Students must also partake in the testing until two weeks after they receive their second vaccination shot.
While the vaccines are effective at protecting against COVID-19 and its variants, the mandate is still controversial because Quinnipiac University, which received over $7.6 million in government funding this year, is punishing students who do not receive vaccines that have not been formally approved by the government.
The lack of approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prompted some to contend that the COVID-19 vaccines should not be forced and that the costs and benefits of being vaccinated vary between individuals. For example, the COVID-19 infection fatality rate for those under the age of 34 is 0.004%, meaning young people are disproportionately safe from COVID-19 while also being disproportionately likely to experience a severe reaction to the vaccines.
Earlier this year, University of California-Irvine medical ethicist Aaron Kheriaty and University of Notre Dame law professor Gerard Bradley discussed the problems with vaccine mandates in universities, writing, “Schools have for decades required vaccination against infectious diseases, but these mandates are unprecedented — and unethical. Never before have colleges insisted that students or employees receive an experimental vaccine as a condition of attendance or employment.”
According to epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff of Harvard Medical School, “For younger people with a very low risk of COVID mortality, we do not yet know whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Under such circumstances, it is unethical for universities to mandate COVID vaccination. Any subsequently detected problems with a mandated vaccine will erode trust not only in that vaccine but also in other critically important vaccines.”
The notion that COVID-19 vaccine mandates are unethical is not an argument against the efficacy or safety of vaccines. However, it is an argument that it should be an individual’s decision to determine if a yet-to-be-approved vaccine is right for them.
The vaccines are known to be extremely effective at preventing the spread of and preventing severe infection from COVID-19 and its variants. According to recent studies from Canada and the U.K., between 79% to 87% of COVID-19 infections from the Delta variant in those who are vaccinated are asymptomatic. Another study from the U.K. similarly found that the Pfizer vaccine is 96% effective against hospitalization, and the AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalization.