Indiana University vaccination warrant confirmed by federal judge: NPR
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A federal judge has blocked a challenge to Indiana University’s requirement that students be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall. Indiana University is one of hundreds of universities mandating COVID-19 vaccination this year.
According to university policy, students and staff must be fully immunized against COVID-19, unless they qualify for a medical, religious or ethical exemption, or unless a student participates in a fully online program. Students who qualify for an exemption will need to take additional precautionary measures on campus by wearing masks, taking additional coronavirus tests and returning home or quarantining themselves in the event of an outbreak.
Students who refuse the vaccine and are not granted an exemption may have their courses canceled and access to online university systems revoked.
Eight students sued the school in June, seeking a preliminary injunction to end the university’s policy. In the complaint, they argued that the rules violated their rights under the 14th Amendment, “which includes the rights to personal autonomy and bodily integrity, and the right to refuse medical treatment.” The students, represented by the Bopp law firm in Terre Haute, Indiana, had a variety of reasons to oppose the mandate, including the relatively low risk of developing severe symptoms based on their age and the long-term effects. unknown vaccine term. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said serious side effects “are extremely unlikely.”)
In their complaint, the students compared the vaccination policy to Tuskegee’s study of syphilis, one of the most infamous abuses of medical ethics in US history. They argued that the university’s mandate clashed with modern medical ethics.
This week, the court dismissed the preliminary injunction motion, which would have ended the vaccine requirement as the case progressed through the courts. In his ruling, US District Judge Damon Leichty wrote: “The situation here is a far cry from past mistakes in medical ethics like the Tuskegee study.
It is important to understand, he said, that the university does not force anyone to be vaccinated. It offers options for students and staff: they can either get vaccinated, apply for an exemption, or find a new school to attend (or, in the case of staff, a new job). Since the policy only applies to the fall semester 2021, students can also choose to withdraw the semester or attend all courses remotely.
In the complaint, several students said they had religious reasons to oppose the masks, which they would have to wear if they qualified for an exemption from the vaccine requirement. In response, Leichty wrote that while the right to practice a religion is fundamental, the university’s mandate to immunize applies equally to all students: “One can well applaud the university for going to- beyond what the constitution requires: courts have always held that schools that offered a religious exemption from mandatory vaccination requirements did so above and beyond that prescribed by the Constitution.
In a statement to NPR, Indiana University spokesman Chuck Carney said, “We appreciate the quick and thorough decision that allows us to focus on a full and safe return. ‘welcome everyone to our campuses for the fall semester. “
In an email, James Bopp Jr., one of the attorneys representing the students, told NPR: “The right of a student admitted to IU to attend IU cannot be conditioned on the fact that the student waives his rights to bodily integrity, bodily autonomy and consent to medical treatment. like IU did here. “
Bopp said the students plan to appeal the judge’s decision.