Union College has defended its decision to ban a student from campus for refusing to get a COVID booster shot, a story the Chicago Thinker broke.
On April 28, the Thinker published an article about Diamond “Ellie” Puentes, a Union College sophomore who was expelled for refusing to get a COVID booster shot, even though her doctor wrote a letter to the college warning that her getting a booster shot is “ill-advised” because she is experiencing severe health problems “presumably caused by the vaccine itself.”
After the article was published, Union College told CBS 6 News that “[a]n individual who chooses not to comply with our policy is not allowed on campus until they meet the requirement.” The college also claimed that “no students have been expelled for refusing to get a booster shot.”
In response, Puentes wrote on Twitter, “@UnionCollege now claims I haven’t been expelled? I’ve been unenrolled from classes, kicked out of housing, and not permitted back on campus. Nice try!”
Union College also told The Epoch Times that it “would welcome back this student tomorrow if she complied with our well-established policy regarding vaccinations.” The school further denied that Puentes had been expelled.
Union College did not respond to a request for comment from the Thinker.
Puentes, who is now living in Chicago, told the Thinker she was hesitant to get a booster shot because she experienced negative side effects after receiving a second dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine in September 2021. A day after receiving the second dose, she became sick, experiencing congestion, coughing, and a sore throat. 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.
Union College’s Director of Health Services, Angela Stefanatos, told Puentes that her request for a medical exemption had been denied because the “vaccine is not associated with gastritis” and there “is no evidence in the literature that vaccination for [COVID] weakens the immune system.”
According to a Pfizer analysis of adverse effects of the COVID vaccine, gastritis is listed as an adverse event of special interest. A report from the UK also includes gastritis as an observed reaction to Pfizer’s vaccine.
Puentes told the Thinker that Union College has not contacted her since her expulsion.