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World-renowned epidemiologist fired from Harvard after refusing COVID vaccine

World-renowned infectious-disease epidemiologist and biostatistician Martin Kulldorff is no longer a professor at Harvard Medical School after refusing the COVID vaccine because he had infection-acquired immunity.

Refusing the vaccine is a decision that lost him his appointment at a Harvard-affiliated hospital at the time several years ago — and this month led to his termination from the Ivy League school.

“Harvard Medical School has affiliation agreements with several Boston hospitals which it neither owns nor operationally controls. Hospital-based faculty, such as Dr. Kulldorff, are employed by one of the affiliates, not by HMS, and require an active hospital appointment to maintain an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School,” a Harvard spokesperson told The College Fix via email Thursday.

Kulldorff told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that after Mass General Brigham fired him, he was put on leave from his faculty position, and the university recently ended that limbo with an official termination. He said Harvard and Harvard-affiliated hospitals do not support infection-acquired immunity and would not approve his exemption requests.

Since the COVID lockdowns began four years ago this month, Kulldorff argued that tactics such as social distancing, masking children, vaccines after infections, and other extreme measures were not the best course of action to fight the virus. He co-authored the Great Barrington Declaration, which called for sensible tactics that would allow the globe to reach “herd immunity” and has to date been signed by nearly 1 million scientists worldwide.

A petition calling for Kulldorff’s reinstatement with over 2,600 signatures argues that reinstating Kulldorff “will uphold the values of academic freedom and respect for individual autonomy in health decisions that Harvard stands for.”

But Kulldorff, writing in City Journal this week, said Harvard turned its back on him, open debate, and medical freedom.

“The beauty of our immune system is that those who recover from an infection are protected if and when they are re-exposed. This has been known since the Athenian Plague of 430 BC—but it is no longer known at Harvard,” he wrote. “Three prominent Harvard faculty coauthored the now infamous ‘consensus’ memorandum in The Lancet, questioning the existence of Covid-acquired immunity. By continuing to mandate the vaccine for students with a prior Covid infection, Harvard is de facto denying 2,500 years of science.”

Only last week, Harvard removed its COVID vaccine mandate for incoming students.

“For scientific, ethical, public health, and medical reasons, I objected both publicly and privately to the Covid vaccine mandates. I already had superior infection-acquired immunity; and it was risky to vaccinate me without proper efficacy and safety studies on patients with my type of immune deficiency. This stance got me fired by Mass General Brigham—and consequently fired from my Harvard faculty position,” Kulldorff wrote, adding that both his medical and religious exemption requests were denied.

“Most Harvard faculty diligently pursue truth in a wide variety of fields, but Veritas has not been the guiding principle of Harvard leaders. Nor have academic freedom, intellectual curiosity, independence from external forces, or concern for ordinary people guided their decisions,” he wrote.

“Harvard and the wider scientific community have much work to do to deserve and regain public trust. The first steps are the restoration of academic freedom and the cancelling of cancel culture. When scientists have different takes on topics of public importance, universities should organize open and civilized debates to pursue the truth.”

Asked to weigh in on the Kulldorff affair, George Mason University Professor of Law Todd Zywicki said it illustrates the “fascist approach” university leaders and the medical establishment embraced during the pandemic.

“It just shows that all this business about ‘trust the science’ and ‘trust the experts’ is just garbage,” Zywicki said in a telephone interview Thursday with The College Fix. “There was no one more of an expert on this than Kulldorff.”

Kulldorff’s advice has been validated as correct, yet the bureaucratic class has learned nothing and still refuses to acknowledge its missteps, he said, adding “they are not amenable to reason, they don’t have a shred of decency in their souls, and they want conformity and they want to crush people.”

Zywicki, who like Kulldorff has infection-acquired immunity, had sued his employers over their COVID vaccine mandate in a case that was ultimately settled in the professor’s favor in 2021 when GMU approved his exemption request.

The onerous regulations enacted during COVID represented “the greatest threat to freedom in at least a generation,” and it’s not over yet, because another crisis of one sort or another is surely around the corner, the law professor said.

“It’s a war,” Zywicki said, “because these people are not going to back down.”

MORE: Embattled Stanford Professor of Medicine Jay Bhattacharya: ‘Academic freedom is dead’

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Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.