A student at Union College was unenrolled and forced to leave the campus in upstate New York after she refused to take a COVID-19 booster shot. The pre-med biology and Spanish language student suffered severe adverse reactions after receiving the first series of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID shots in the fall.1
Sophomore Ellie Puentes is a first-generation student who attended Union College on academic scholarship. Puentes received the first set of COVID vaccines when the college required the shots in order to attend school. Immediately afterwards, Puentes suffered from sharp adnominal pain landing her in a hospital emergency room for hours. She still suffers from constant nausea, vomiting, chest pains and shortness of breath.2
Just the other day I wake up randomly just puking and I don’t know what the cause of that is, and then on top of that, I have shortness of breath. I can’t work out like I used to. I’m getting chest pains where this never happened prior to the vaccine. And I don’t know what’s going on! “The puking happens more often than I would say the diarrhea and the shortness of breath. … I get these sharp pains in my chest and even my immune system, I believe, has just gone down. I’ve been more sick than I’ve ever been.3
College Rejects Medical Exemption to COVID Booster
When the college recently announced that boosters would be mandatory, Puentes e-mailed the school explaining her situation and the severe adverse reactions she had to the first series of COVID shots and asked to speak to the administrative staff in person about this issue. That request was denied, and Puentes was expelled from school and ordered to leave campus via e-mail.  The school refused a letter from Puentes long-time doctor who stated the COVID vaccine booster shot was “ill-advised”5 as well as the paperwork she received from the hospital after her visit post COVID vaccination.6
The letter Puentes’ doctor sent to the college read in part…
Ms. Puentes is a 20-year-old who has had severe, prolonged symptoms since receiving her COVID vaccines…She missed one week of school after the shot…it is my opinion that Ms. Puentes be granted an exception from receiving the booster COVID vaccine. She currently is in an unfavorable state of health, presumably caused by the vaccine itself and getting the vaccine is ill advised.7
Despite Union College purportedly allowing exemptions to vaccination for approved medical and religious reasons, the doctor’s letter was ignored by college officials.8
Both Puentes’ doctor and the doctors in the emergency room diagnosed her with gastritis. However, Union College denied that gastritis could be an adverse reaction to the shot. The school nurse told her to just get Moderna’s Spikevax COVID biologic this time, which uses the same messenger RNA (mRNA) technology as Pfizer/BioNtech Comirnaty COVID biologic, if she was concerned about the reactions she had to Comirnaty.9
Pfizer/BioNTech Confirms Reaction Was Likely from COVID Shot
Undeterred, Puentes reached out to Pfizer to inquire whether her severe symptoms could be due to the vaccines she was forced to get to attend college. Puentes said Pfizer confirmed her fears stating, “They confirmed that the symptoms I’m having could be or are related to the vaccine because they have seen others with the same reactions.”10
Union College officials discounted the vaccine manufacturer’s confirmation that other people were diagnosed with gastritis like Puentes and that her symptoms were likely from the Comirnaty vaccine. Puentes was denied a medical exemption to the COVID vaccine requirement and she was expelled from school.11
The school’s actions are not supported by government policy as the federal health officials consider individuals, who have received the initial two dose series of COVID shots, to be fully vaccinated and they have not changed the definition of “fully vaccinated” to include booster doses. However, despite the federal government stance, Union College is not alone in demanding receipt of COVID booster doses. A number of private businesses and schools are mandating the COVID booster shot as proof a person is “fully vaccinated.” New York University, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Michigan and Northwestern are among the other universities that require a COVID booster for attendance.12 13
Puentes’ friends started a GoFundMe account to help her pay for the remaining weeks she had on campus and to raise money for a lawyer.14 GoFundMe, an online fund raising platform, shut Puentes’ account down silencing her friends’ efforts to help the young college student.15>
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Click here to view References:
1 Trigoso E. Union College Student Booted for Rejecting Vaccine Booster After Having Serious Side Effects. The Epoch Times May 3, 2022.
5 Schmidt D. EXCLUSIVE: Union College Sophomore Gets Expelled for Refusing Booster Shot, Despite Her Doctor Saying Her Getting Booster Is ‘Ill-Advised’. Chicago Thinker Apr. 28, 2022.
6 Schwartz I. Ellie Puentes: Union College Kicked For Out For Not Taking Booster After Adverse Reaction To Vaccine. RealClear Politics May 7, 2022.
7 Schmidt D. EXCLUSIVE: Union College Sophomore Gets Expelled for Refusing Booster Shot, Despite Her Doctor Saying Her Getting Booster Is ‘Ill-Advised’. Chicago Thinker Apr. 28, 2022.
9 Trigoso E. Union College Student Booted for Rejecting Vaccine Booster After Having Serious Side Effects. The Epoch Times May 3, 2022.
11 Schwartz I. Ellie Puentes: Union College Kicked For Out For Not Taking Booster After Adverse Reaction To Vaccine. RealClear Politics May 7, 2022.
12 Durkee A. Booster Still Not Required To Be ‘Fully Vaccinated,’ CDC Says. Forbes Jan. 5, 2022.
13 Miller K. Some Colleges Are Now Requiring COVID-19 Boosters. Verywell Health Dec. 22, 2021.
14 Trigoso E. Union College Student Booted for Rejecting Vaccine Booster After Having Serious Side Effects. The Epoch Times May 3, 2022.
15 Schwartz I. Ellie Puentes: Union College Kicked For Out For Not Taking Booster After Adverse Reaction To Vaccine. RealClear Politics May 7, 2022.