An organization called the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is threatening legal action if the University of Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate is not rescinded.
JCCF submitted a legal warning letter to the university and to Sask Polytechnic earlier in the month that outlined its concerns.
“Our concern with the university’s approach is it’s using one hammer to address all of the concerns,” said JCCF lawyer Andre Memauri. “There are a number of tools that can be used. The University of British Columbia, for instance, is not at this stage opting to require mandatory vaccinations.”
Chair of the USask Pandemic Response and Recovery Team Darcy Marciniuk responded to the letter, saying the university is responsible for the safety of the campus community.
“Public health guidance confirmed that vaccination is the single most effective public health measure against COVID-19 and that testing protocols are not preventive and should only be resorted to when no other option exists,” he said in a statement to Global News Thursday.
Marciniuk added that staff and students with extenuating circumstances are able to request an accommodation under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.
Michelle Linklater’s 19-year-old daughter was one out of thousands of University of Saskatchewan students required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend classes and be on campus.
She said her daughter experienced rare side effects from the dose of Johnson and Johnson vaccine she received that briefly put her in the hospital
“She was having some difficulty inhaling a full breath,” Linklater said. “She was coughing and having a hard time exhaling.”
As a result, Linklater now disagrees with the university’s vaccine mandate, which she believes should be reconsidered.
“I would like to know what those specific cases are now that my daughter has had an adverse reaction, and I’m sure there’s others,” she said.
“I am not one out there that’s saying it’s not right for the next person’s family. Everyone needs to make that decision for themselves.”
Linklater hopes the university considers unique circumstances like hers moving forward and allows for more options when it comes to future vaccines.
Since implementing the mandatory vaccine policy, more than 95 per cent of the USask campus community is now fully vaccinated.
University officials created the policy through extensive consultation with the public health recommendations made by the province.