A UC Irvine professor who claimed in a lawsuit to have a natural immunity to COVID-19 has been fired for refusing the vaccine.

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the medical school and director of the medical ethics program at UCI Health, wrote in a blog post that the University of California system removed him from his position on Dec. 17.

“Two years ago I never could have imagined that the University would dismiss me and other doctors, nurses, faculty, staff, and students for this arbitrary and capricious reason,” he wrote, later adding, “Once I challenged one of their policies I immediately became a ‘threat to the health and safety of the community.’”

In August, Kheriarty sued the University of California Board of Regents and Michael V. Drake, the system’s president, alleging he should be exempt from the university’s vaccine mandate because he has a “natural immunity” to COVID-19 after being exposed to the virus. The doctor asserted that treating those who have coronavirus antibodies — by virtue of contracting it — differently from those who are fully vaccinated is unconstitutional. Research shows that coronavirus immunity wanes over time.

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