A federal judge has upheld the vaccine mandate at the University of California (UC) despite a legal challenge by an employee claiming “natural immunity” from COVID-19.
Psychiatry and Human Behavior professor Aaron Kheriaty filed a lawsuit against the school president and board of regents for requiring him to be vaccinated despite allegedly having immunity due to a prior coronavirus infection.
In his ruling, US District Court Judge James Selna ruled that the university system “acted rationally” when imposing a vaccine mandate for students and personnel returning to campus this fall.
The judge further stated that the institution only sought to protect public health by not exempting anyone acquiring some immunity from an infection.
While the ruling denied a motion for a preliminary injunction, the professor insisted that he plans to continue challenging the mandate.
Kheriaty, who also serves as director of UC Irvine’s Medical Ethics Program, claims that his concerns about the vaccine policy imposed at the university appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
He said he decided to file a legal complaint against the administration when he saw others taking a stand against the mandate.
“Efforts to elicit conversation, discussion, debate on the issue have fallen flat in my experience,” he said, as quoted by ABC News. “It became clear to me that if I, as a medical ethicist, didn’t stand up and try to represent those voices, then those folks would be steamrolled by these policies.”
Kheriaty stated that he is being “treated unequally” by the university system. He said there is no rational basis for discriminating against his form of immunity because he feels that it is “very likely better” than the immunity that a vaccine can give.
Despite challenging the mandate, the professor clarified that he will not dissuade other people with “natural immunity” who still want to receive COVID-19 shots. He said he is only advocating for respect regarding the decision of others to forego vaccination.