The Volokh Conspiracy

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Free Speech

Canadian Professor Suspended for Comments Criticizing COVID Vaccination of Children


The Canadian Press (Jacob Serebrin) reported June 30; Université Laval is a prominent Canadian public research university, and apparently "the oldest centre of higher education in Canada":

Patrick Provost, a professor at Université Laval who studies micro RNA — small molecules that help regulate genes — was suspended for eight weeks without pay on June 14 for comments he made last December at a conference.

Provost said he believes the risks of COVID-19 vaccination in children outweigh the benefits because of the potential side-effects from mRNA vaccines, which use messenger RNA created in a lab to teach cells how to make a protein.

"I was just doing what I was hired to do," he said in an interview Wednesday. "I had some concerns about something, I searched the literature and I prepared a speech, delivered it to the public. Being censored for doing what I've been trained to do — and hired to do — well, it's hard to believe." …

A university committee consisting of a lawyer and two experts concluded that his comments were biased and that he didn't analyze his data rigorously or present his information objectively, Provost said….

According to local news reports, Provost is one of two professors suspended by Université Laval for anti-vaccine comments. The university declined to comment on either suspension, while the union said it is not aware of the second case.

Prof. Douglas Farrow (McGill) criticizes this in some detail. Thanks to Gail Heriot, writing at InstaPundit, for the pointer.