Former Harvard Medical School prof says he was fired for opposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates

In a recent article, Dr. Martin Kulldorff wrote that he was fired from Harvard due to his public and private stances on vaccine mandates.

'Academic excellence is founded on freedom of speech with open, passionate, and civilized discourse, without bullying or cancellation,' Kulldorff told Campus Reform.

Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a biostatistician and infectious disease epidemiologist, was fired from his position at Harvard Medical School for opposing vaccine mandates, according to a recent article that he wrote.

“I am no longer a professor of medicine at Harvard,” Dr. Kulldorff wrote in a City Journal article published on March 11. “The Harvard motto is Veritas, Latin for truth. But, as I discovered, truth can get you fired.”

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In comments made to Campus Reform, Kulldorff indicated that the university’s decision infringed upon academic freedom. “Academic excellence is founded on freedom of speech with open, passionate, and civilized discourse, without bullying or cancellation,” he stated.

In his article, Kulldorff said that “it was clear” from the beginning of the pandemic that COVID-19 would “spread across the globe,” and that it was “futile to try to suppress it with lockdowns.” He also stated that it was evident that “lockdowns would inflict enormous collateral damage” on both “education” and “public health.”

“We will be dealing with the harm done for decades. Our children, the elderly, the middle class, the working class, and the poor around the world—all will suffer,” he wrote.

Dr. Kulldorff also argued that Sweden, his native country, successfully defeated COVID-19 without using lockdowns. Yet, he noted that in a 2020 “Harvard-edited” article on whether primary schools should reopen, the researchers ignored the example of the Swedish approach in their analyses.

“It was like ignoring the placebo control group when evaluating a new pharmaceutical drug,” Kulldorff noted. “That’s not the path to truth.” 

Based in part on evidence from Sweden, Dr. Kulldorff opposed lockdown measures during the pandemic.

To advocate his position, Kulldorff and two other epidemiologists published the Great Barrington Declaration in October 2020, which argued in favor of “age-based focused protection instead of universal lockdowns.” This solution would, in his view, “protect the elderly” while letting children and adults “live close to normal lives.”

Kulldorff explained that he was immediately described as “fringe” and accused of being  “enticed . . . with Koch money” and “cultivated by right-wing think tanks” by Harvard colleagues.

Though Kulldorff’s position against lockdowns drew the ire of many pro-lockdown advocates, his position against vaccine mandates ultimately led to the termination of his position, he argued.

“For scientific, ethical, public health, and medical reasons, I objected both publicly and privately to the Covid vaccine mandates,” Dr. Kulldorff wrote. “This stance got me fired by Mass General Brigham—and consequently fired from my Harvard faculty position.”

Ultimately, Kulldorff expressed hope for Harvard to return to academic freedom, which he believes is the only solution to the problem it now faces.

“If Harvard and its hospitals want to be credible scientific institutions, they should rehire those of us they fired,” Dr. Kulldorff concluded. “My hope is that someday, Harvard will find its way back to academic freedom and independence.”

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A professor of medicine at Harvard since 2003, Kulldorff is a founding fellow at Hillsdale College’s Academy for Science and Freedom.

Campus Reform has contacted Harvard University for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.