Dr. Aaron Kheriaty reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic like many other medical experts. He worked long hours as the United States tried to grapple with the new disease. He had too many conversations with family members whose loved ones were dying from it.
But as time wore on, he started noticing a pattern in public health decisions that seemed to diverge from traditional medical ethics, including an insistence that people at little risk from COVID-19 get a vaccine.
Kheriaty is now on suspension from the University of California, Irvine, (UCI) and challenging the school’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in court.
“I had to stand up and try to do something about it,” the professor of psychiatry and director of the UCI Health’s Medical Ethics Program said on The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders.”
UCI spokespeople declined to comment for this story.
Kheriaty contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, in mid-2020. His infection was confirmed by two different tests from two independent labs. His five children and wife also contracted the disease. They all recovered, with none requiring hospital care.
“It was, for me, actually a very liberating experience afterward, because I didn’t have to worry about the illness anymore. I knew the science on natural immunity,” Kheriaty said.
Natural immunity refers to when people contract COVID-19 and recover. Dozens of studies have documented that these individuals enjoy strong immunity against CCP virus re-infection. Some of the studies suggest the immunity is superior to that provided by COVID-19 vaccines, particularly the Johnson & Johnson one.
“I knew that at that point, I was among the safest people to be around, I didn’t have to worry about transmitting the infection to my patients,” Kheriaty said.
He continued taking precautions, wearing personal protective equipment like masks as required at the hospital. But he was confident he didn’t pose a risk to others, which served as a relief.
That relief turned into disbelief when, around a year later, the University of California system, which includes UCI, imposed a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Opt-Out is Temporary
The mandate (pdf) included a natural immunity opt-out, but only temporarily. People who recovered from COVID-19 were told they would only be exempt from the mandate for up to 90 days after their diagnosis.