In its second challenge to a college’s Covid-19 vaccine requirement, the Informed Consent Action Network has asked Princeton University to withdraw its mandate for students, on the grounds that no Covid-19 vaccine has been fully approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.
“Requiring an unlicensed and unapproved product violates federal law, international laws, civil and individual rights, and public policy,” lawyers with Siri Glimstad LLC wrote in a letter sent on Thursday to the Princeton president, Christopher L. Eisgruber, on behalf of the anti-vaccine advocacy group.
“A few students and a faculty member” at Princeton were among those who contacted the group about the mandate, the lawyers Aaron Siri, Elizabeth A. Brehm, and Debra Gambella wrote.
Federal law and the emergency-use authorizations for the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the letter said, prohibit mandating that students receive the vaccines.
Lawyers for the group sent a similar letter to Rutgers University. Both letters said the institutions are “effectively forcing each student to choose” between an education and “receiving an experimental medical treatment to which they do not consent.”
Ben Chang, a Princeton spokesman, wrote in an email to The Chronicle that university officials had “conducted a careful review and are confident in our legal position.”
“Having an immunized student body will enable us to provide a safer living and learning environment, as well as a more robust and vibrant co-curricular experience for our students,” Chang added. “This approach is also consistent with the public interest — as federal, state, and local public-health authorities have repeatedly stressed, vaccinating a high percentage of the population is essential to ending the pandemic that has resulted in the death of over half a million Americans.”
Princeton students can request an exemption from the requirement for medical or religious reasons, opt to defer admission, or take a leave of absence if they choose not to be vaccinated before the start of the fall semester.