RENO, Nev. (AP) — A 19-year-old student who says he is immune from COVID-19 because he already had it is suing the University of Nevada, Reno, the governor and others over the state’s requirement that everyone, with few exceptions, show proof of vaccination in order to register for classes in the upcoming spring semester.
Jonah Gold claims there is no solid evidence that people who recover from COVID-19 ever lose their immunity. His lawsuit says any benefit of vaccination is outweighed by the threat of harmful side effects and that “COVID-19 vaccination mandates are an unconstitutional intrusion on normal immunity and bodily integrity.”
The lawsuit was filed Nov. 9 in U.S District Court in Reno by lawyers including Joey Gilbert, an ex-boxer turned conservative activist who is aligned with former President Donald Trump and running for Nevada's 2022 Republican gubernatorial nomination.
The state’s Division of Public and Behavioral Health adopted an emergency regulation in August requiring enrollees in any Nevada university, community college or state college beginning Nov. 1, 2021, to provide proof of a completed COVID-19 vaccination.
Gold, who lives in a campus dormitory and refuses to take a COVID-19 test, already has paid for room and board for the spring semester. But he has been unable to register for in-person classes since Nov. 1 and, as a result, “his education and livelihood are being hindered," the lawsuit states.
Gold “declines COVID-19 testing as an intrusive bodily intrusion, one that would subject Jonah to the unreasonable risk of a false positive with resulting draconian contact tracing and isolation,” it says.
The lawsuit makes a number of unsubstantiated claims about the vulnerability of the vaccinated to the virus and deaths reportedly caused by the vaccine.
But it centers on the argument that Gold is naturally immune.
The lawsuit claims there's no evidence anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 loses their immunity and that “defendants can cite no statistically significant evidence that COVID-19 recovered persons are at any risk whatsoever of reinfection or transmission, let along greater risk than vaccinated persons.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disagrees. It urges even people who have recovered from COVID-19 to get vaccinated. A study released in August showed survivors who ignored that advice were more than twice as likely to get re-infected.
The CDC report added to growing laboratory evidence that people who had one bout of COVID-19 get a dramatic boost in virus-fighting immune cells — and a bonus of broader protection against new mutants — when they are vaccinated.
The study, which was done in Kentucky, suggested natural immunity from earlier infection isn’t as strong as the boost those people can get from vaccination while the virus evolves, said study lead author Alyson Cavanaugh, a CDC disease detective working with that state’s health department.
Meghin Delaney, communications director for Gov. Steve Sisolak ,said in an email Thursday the Governor’s Office “has no comment on the ongoing litigation. “
Gold’s lawsuit argues that COVID-19 vaccines are a “personal health measure,” not the sort of “public health measure” that was at the center of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in 1905, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, upholding the power of state’s to enact compulsory vaccination laws.
Gold’s lawyers are seeking a court order requiring the state to “show cause” for the vaccination mandate, effectively “shifting the burden to defendants to prove that defendants’ unscientific decision to mandate an experimental personal health genetic intervention, and to reject natural immunity, meets a compelling state interest.”