At least seven fully vaccinated Stanford University students have tested positive for coronavirus.
Officials from the Ivy League school in the California Bay Area reported the breakthrough infections in a letter to students Thursday.
They said all cases had been confirmed in the past week and all seven students were symptomatic.
“As you have seen in the national news, cases of COVID-19 are on the rise,” officials wrote in the letter.
“We’re seeing some of this in our own community, where we’re experiencing an increase in student COVID cases, including among fully vaccinated individuals.”
Stanford is one of nearly 600 universities and colleges nationwide that have required students and faculty to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall.
The school upholds its mandate by requiring proof of vaccination status and says it will offer waivers on a case-by-case basis for religious or medical reasons.
At least seven fully vaccinated students at Stanford University have tested positive for coronavirus, school officials announced Thursday. Pictured: Students take social distancing during a class held outdoors at California’s Ivy League
The chances of contracting the coronavirus after being fully vaccinated are very low, with so-called ‘breakthrough’ cases representing only a small percentage of the new cases reported in the US.
Experts have tried to allay concerns about such cases by recalling that COVID-19 vaccines are still highly effective in preventing severe symptoms, hospitalization and death.
Less than three percent of people hospitalized with COVID-19 have been vaccinated, according to the CDC, and only 1,063 deaths have been reported among vaccinated people.
However, there are concerns that vaccines may not be as effective at fighting new, more contagious strains of the virus, including the Delta strain that is wreaking havoc across the country.
At Stanford, officials have emphasized the importance of vaccination while continuing to mandate face coverings in all open spaces on the 8,180-acre campus.
‘Vaccinations are effective in preventing serious diseases. However, we need everyone to be vigilant,” officials wrote in Thursday’s letter. ‘The variants remain a concern.’
According to the school’s dashboard, some 8,300 students have been fully vaccinated and 330 partially vaccinated.
The school recently relaxed its coronavirus testing requirements, allowing vaccinated students and staff to stop submitting weekly tests and daily check-ins if they provide proof of vaccinations.
All undergraduate students preparing to return to campus this fall must submit proof of vaccination by July 23.
Anyone who misses that deadline will be banned from participating in classes.
It is unclear whether the school has granted waivers from the vaccine mandate.
Stanford has reported a total of 235 confirmed cases of coronavirus since last summer and 8,300 of its students have been fully vaccinated as of Friday.
Stanford’s announcement of breakthrough cases could fuel the growing controversy over university vaccine mandates across the country.
As of Friday, 592 U.S. schools, both public and private, have imposed such mandates, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
While schools claim they only protect their communities, critics say the mandates represent a violation of personal freedom and question the effectiveness of the vaccines themselves.
Eight states have passed laws prohibiting colleges from requiring vaccinations: Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Montana, Arizona and Utah.
A pivotal development in the case came earlier this week when a federal judge upheld Indiana University’s mandate after the school was sued by eight students who demanded that the school be destroyed.
While many schools, such as Stanford, offer exemptions, it’s unclear how many have actually been granted.
Olivia Sandor, 18, says she lost a $200,000 scholarship and denied entry to Brigham Young University-Hawaii after applying for waiver from the school’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement due to a pre-existing medical condition
Olivia Sandor, an 18-year-old from Hawaii, emerged as the face of the debate this week as she shared how she was denied entry to her dream school — Brigham Young University Hawaii (BYUH) — and lost $200,000 in scholarships because she would not be vaccinated due to a pre-existing medical condition.
Sandor said BYUH had refused her fall admission due to state and university vaccination requirements, despite having already awarded her scholarship money.
Sandor, who suffers from Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), shared her story about Sean Hannity’s disease Fox news program on Monday night, explaining how she had applied for exemption from the school’s vaccination requirement after her team of medical providers advised her against getting the COVID-19 shot.
But the university turned down her request for an exemption — telling her to re-enroll after she was vaccinated.
Sandor developed GBS after receiving a flu vaccine in 2019 and was paralyzed from the waist down for more than a month.
She said that while attending BYUH was her dream, the risks of the coronavirus vaccine do not outweigh the rewards.
“I don’t want to go back and have another episode of Guillain-Barre,” she told Hannity. “It’s really, really not worth it to me.”