The Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus has been the very first variant of the virus that easily evades both natural and vaccine immunity. That’s the reason why many countries, including America, in the winter months set new record high number of Covid-19 cases despite decent vaccination rates and people with natural immunity who had previously recovered from the virus.
Months after the Omicron peak that happened in January, America is again seeing uptick in new cases lately, a trend that once again bothers the unvaccinated, fully vaccinated and those with natural immunity. The CDC data shows that more than 258 million Americans are vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccines, but the rising trend of cases in the last couple of weeks has brought the 14-day average number of cases to more than 108,000, New York Times Covid-19 tracker shows.
Health experts advise everyone eligible to get first and second booster doses. Vaccines are proved to offer the best protection against the virus, but some people developed more or less serious symptoms from the first doses and simply refuse to continue the Covid-vaccination process due to those reasons. Such is the case with a young woman, the 20-year-old D. Puentes, who was hospitalized after receiving the second dose last year and ended up in hospital.
According to the The Thinker that first broke Puentes’s story late last month, Puentes became sick, experiencing congestion, coughing, and a sore throat last September just a day after receiving her second Covid-19 dose. Less than ten days later, she started vomiting and having diarrhea. She also had a sharp pain in her upper abdomen. These health problems culminated in her going to an emergency room, where she stayed for six hours and was diagnosed with gastritis. Seven months later, she continues to have symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.
In addition to the vaccination, the young woman tested positive on the virus in December which means that she has now developed what scientists have called “hybrid immunity.” The New York Times reported in January that hybrid immunity is the “combined protection of pre-existing vaccine antibodies and natural antibodies from a breakthrough infection.”
Since Puentes now has what experts say is the best immunity against Covid-19 and the fact she suffered unwanted reactions from the Covid-19 vaccine, she decided not to get the booster once she became eligible. However, a problem occurred with her university that still has active booster mandate for students and university employees, mandating everyone to get a booster shot six months after the second shot. The N.Y. based Union College rejected her initial request for religious vaccine exemption.
Puentes, who has been skeptical about the Covid-19 vaccines from the very beginning, but got vaccinated only to comply with the university’s vaccine mandate last year, visited her doctor to talk about the situation. Considering everything Puentes had been through in the last few months since her initial vaccine dose, her doctor decided to send a letter to the college officials requesting Puentes to be granted booster exemption.
This is what the doctor wrote: “It is in my opinion that Ms. Puentes be granted an exception from receiving the booster COVID vaccine. She currently is in an unfavorable state of health, presumably caused by the vaccine itself and getting this vaccine is ill advised.”
A day later, Puentes received an email from the college in which she was informed that her request for medical exemption was denied and that’s the college’s final decision regarding her case. In a separate email, she was told her classes will be dropped and that she has 72 hours to move out of her dorm. With no options left, she left the campus within the given period.
Few days after the story was published, Union College informed the public they haven’t expelled a single student for failing to comply with the vaccine policy, but that “[a]n individual who chooses not to comply with the policy is not allowed on campus until they meet the requirement.” However, Puentes’ claims on Twitter suggest something completely different.