'Devastated' freshman's COVID-19 vaccine medical exemption denied by BYU despite rare disorder
Brigham Young University-Hawaii has crushed a rising freshman’s plan of attending her dream university this fall because she has not received the COVID-19 vaccine for medical reasons.
Olivia Sandor, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, always dreamed of attending Brigham Young University-Hawaii. That was until the school mandated that students receive the COVID-19 vaccine. However, she fears a life-threatening medical condition could make it dangerous for her to do so.
The 18-year-old shared her story on both Instagram and TikTok as more people have come forward, including many more unvaccinated students at the private institution operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Sandor was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome [GBS] in February 2019, which she says was caused by another vaccine. GBS caused the healthy teenager and dancer to become paralyzed from the waist down for over a month, leading her to believe she would never walk again.
Sandor was healed of her paralysis from GBS as she laid in a hospital bed thanks to what she considers an act of God. However, she says that because of her condition she is "not able to be vaccinated" because it could cause "permanent paralysis, and possibly death if it spread up my body."
"This is not a choice for me," she maintains.
When BYU-Hawaii announced the mandatory vaccination for all students in June, Sandor met with her board of medical providers to write a medical exemption form only to be denied the exemption weeks later.
“How? Why? Was this a joke? I was devastated to say the least,” Sandor shared.
Sandor said that all of her medical providers “strongly advised” against vaccination due to the condition.
“This is obviously something I don’t want to mess around with," she said. "So with that being said, me and my family took that response and went to a higher authority.”
Sandor and her family got in touch with the president of BYU-Hawaii, who said her case would be re-reviewed by the medical board.
Her case for the vaccine medical exemption was denied once again.
“Again, I was devastated, but at the same time, I felt peace,” Sandor shared on Instagram.
“I may have worked so hard to get there, but now I know that wasn’t the Lord’s plan for me," she continued. "I’m proud to say I did everything I could to fight it. I brought it to every authority I could. Do I understand why they denied me? No. Do I think it’s okay that they did that? No. Do I think it’s humane? No, but I do know that the Lord has something better in store for me.”
Sandor reportedly lost $200,000 in scholarships just to attend BYU-Hawaii.
After Sandor’s statements racked up over 160,000 likes on TikTok and over 32,000 likes on Instagram, BYU-Hawaii shared a post on Instagram saying that questions and comments concerning the COVID-19 vaccination policy should be directed toward the school “to help mainstream communication in light of recent events on social media.”
The Christian Post reached out to BYU-Hawaii for a comment regarding Sandor's case. A response is pending.
The conservative student organization Turning Point USA shared Sandor’s story and the stories of others at BYU-Hawaii who are unable to attend the university because of their vaccination status. The organization calls the school’s policy “anti-science and anti-student.”
TPUSA has started a “No Forced Vax” campaign to help students who are being forced to choose between receiving the vaccine or their ability to attend school.
Analysis of data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System shows that 100 people reportedly developed GBS after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. An FDA official told Health that of the 100 cases, 95 were labeled serious and required hospitalization. At least one person died.
However, the GBS/CIDP Foundation International cautioned that the VAERS system is a "passive reporting system." Past studies have shown that some patients who were initially reported as having GBS were later determined to suffer from another disorder.
"As this time, the FDA states there is not enough information to establish a causal relationship between the J&J vaccine and cases of GBS," the foundation warned.
"The FDA has reiterated its stance that the known and potential benefits of the J&J vaccine clearly outweigh the known potential risks of the vaccine. The GBS/CIDP Foundation supports this stance."
The foundation also notes that over 100 million adults in the U.S. received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and "no increased incidence of GBS has been found after those vaccinations."
"No data exists to advise patients who have had GBS in the past to avoid the Covid 19 vaccines including the J&J vaccines," the foundation adds. "If a patient has received any of the vaccines and developed symptoms of weakness, numbness, or gait difficulty he or she should seek immediate care."
Dr. Robert Malone, a pioneer for mRNA vaccine technology, has cautioned adolescents about being vaccinated as many public and private universities are mandating vaccines for the next school year. Reports have emerged linking the vaccine to heart inflammation and other health problems.
Malone appeared on Fox News' “Tucker Carlson Tonight” last month to discuss his concerns about the vaccine for those who are not at as high of a risk for COVID-19, like children and young adults.
"[O]ne of my concerns are that the government is not being transparent with us about what those risks are," Malone said on the show. "And so, I am of the opinion that people have the right to decide whether to accept vaccines or not, especially since these are experimental vaccines."
The COVID-19 vaccines have not yet received full FDA approval, are still in experimental stages and are administered under emergency use authorization.
The CDC is tracking cases of heart inflammation associated with the mRNA coronavirus vaccine.
The CDC released an update last week called “Reported Adverse Events,” which lists anaphylaxis, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, myocarditis and pericarditis and even death as adverse but rare side effects of COVID-19 vaccines.
Emily Wood is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org