BYU Student with Rare Medical Condition Denied Vaccine Exemption

Olivia Sandor is unable to attend her dream school, BYU Hawaii, because they would not grant her a vaccine exemption. (liv.sandor/Instagram)

A student with a rare medical condition is not permitted to begin her freshman year this fall at Brigham Young University-Hawaii because the school denied her coronavirus vaccine medical exemption request.

Olivia Sandor received the influenza vaccine and developed Guillain Barre syndrome (GBS). She was paralyzed from the waist down for several months of 2019.

On June 16, BYU-Hawaii first mandated vaccines for all incoming students. The announcement does not mention if staff members are required to receive the vaccine, and according to Sandor, they are not.

Students are not allowed to wear masks instead of getting the vaccine, and BYU-Hawaii has not offered online classes as an alternative. “They’re not giving you another option,” Sandor told Campus Reform, a project of the Leadership Institute:

The hopeful freshman provided a doctor’s note to BYU-Hawaii, asking for a medical exemption. The note read, “Because of her (Sandor’s) history I believe a COVID vaccine or another influenza vaccine will endanger her health and possibly her life. I believe she should avoid these vaccines indefinitely.”

Sandor and her family attempted to appeal the decision so she could attend her “dream” school. BYU-Hawaii’s director of Health Services, Laurie Abregano, told her she could either get vaccinated or “consider attendance at one of the other church universities” in Idaho or Utah.

She then appealed the decision to Student Life Vice President Kala Kau, who told her, “There are still viable alternatives for vaccination without risk of GBS.”

The excited freshman already bought the flights and had a roommate for this fall before finding out she could not attend BYU-Hawaii.

“If you want to get vaccinated, that’s your own personal choice, but your medical decision should be left up to your medical providers,” said Sandor.

By choosing to initially attend BYU-Hawaii in March, Sandor said she turned down $200,000 in scholarships to other schools. She will move to Utah, but she does not know which school she plans to attend there because she no longer has her scholarships.

A lawsuit against BYU-Hawaii is not out of the question, Sandor told Campus Reform.

Sandor initially told her story through TikTok on June 13. When she overcame her paralyzation, she said, “I swore by my faith I was healed.”

“I’m not the only one going through this and this is something that is very, very important to talk about. There are people who cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine, including me, and we are being put to the side. This is not okay,” Sandor said:

@liv.sandorMy story on the Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate at BYU Hawaii. Please share this with others. This is not okay. ##foryou ##covid19 ##guillainbarresurvivor ##vax♬ original sound – liv.sandor

Last week, Breitbart News reported, “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday added warning labels to Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine for the Chinese coronavirus over links to a rare neurological condition.”

In June, the FDA added warning labels to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines after 1,200 cases of heart inflammation were reported in those who received the shot.


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