College Student Expelled for Following Doctor’s Advice to Skip COVID Booster Shot Due to Side Effects

Diamond Ellie Puentes, 20, was attending Union College on a scholarship when she was informed via email that she was expelled for not receiving her booster shot, and only had a few days to pack up her belongings and leave campus.
Diamond Ellie Puentes, 20, was attending Union College on a scholarship when she was informed via email that she was expelled for not receiving her booster shot, and only had a few days to pack up her belongings and leave campus. File photo: Jozsefkurecsko, Shutter Stock, licensed.

NEW YORK, NY – A college student in New York who was following the advice of her physician – who had suggested she forgo a COVID-19 booster shot after experiencing side-effects from her second jab – has been expelled from her school for that very reason, despite her attempts to get a medical exemption granted to her.

Diamond Ellie Puentes, 20, was attending Union College on a scholarship when she was informed via email that she was expelled for not receiving her booster shot, and only had a few days to pack up her belongings and leave campus.

I was in class, I received an email stating, ‘you have been unenrolled and you have 72 hours to leave campus,’” Puentes said.

Puentes admitted that COVID-19 vaccines “kind of freaked me out a little bit” due to issues she had heard regarding potential side effects and the speed to which they were created and released; due to those worries, she initially applied for a religious exemption, which the school denied.


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As a result, she received her initial dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and did not experience any problems. However, that did not hold true upon her second dose, from which she said she experienced numerous serious side effects – many of which continue to this day – including a sore throat, extreme abdomen pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Due to her experience with the second shot, Puentes – with the backing of her doctor – applied for a medical exemption from having to receive a booster shot, but was denied on April 11, with Union College’s Director of Health Services claiming that her side effects could not have come from a COVID-19 vaccine.

Puentes, who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 in December 2021 despite being vaccinated, noted that the school was being “unreasonable,” saying “Obviously, it was my health that was in jeopardy, and they were not listening.”

She also suspects that she may have been a target for expulsion because she is a low-income student who is attending the college on a scholarship that covers most of her tuition, saying that it was “unjust for an institution to withdraw a student or fire a staff member because they have chosen not to comply with a policy with valid reasoning.”


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