Federal judge rules that Indiana University can require Covid vaccines for students

A medical worker will receive the Covid-19 vaccine on April 7, 2021 at Sun Yat-sen University’s First Affiliated Hospital in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China.

Southern image | Visual China Group | Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Sunday that Indiana University may require its students to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in the first decision to maintain an educational institution’s vaccine mandate.

Judge Damon R. Leichty of the U.S. District Court for Northern Indiana denied a restraining order that would have prevented the school from getting vaccinated by most students, faculty, and staff at least two weeks before the fall semester.

Students who fail to get vaccinated and who are not given a waiver will not be able to go to campus or use university email accounts. Your campus access cards will be deactivated, the judge wrote.

Eight students sued the school shortly after the policy was announced in May on the grounds that the mandate violated their physical autonomy and medical privacy. They also argued against mask requirements and Covid tests, but the judge also denied these requests, saying: “There is no basic constitutional right not to wear a mask”.

“They are asking the court to issue an injunction – an extraordinary remedy that requires strong evidence that they are likely to succeed on the merits, that they will suffer irreparable harm, and that the balance of the harms and the public interest this favor a remedy “, it said in the opinion of the judge.” The court now rejects your application. “

The lawsuit could have wider implications for other schools. Hundreds of higher education institutions, including the state and city university systems in New York and California, mandated vaccines for students this fall.

“Recognizing the substantial freedom that students have to opt out of undesirable medical treatment, the Fourteenth Amendment allows Indiana University to pursue adequate and proper vaccination procedures in the legitimate public health interests of its students, faculties, and staff,” the judge wrote in his 101st Amendment -side opinion.

The New York Times reported that James Bopp Jr., who represented the students, announced that he would appeal to the US Supreme Court. He said America’s frontline doctors – a conservative group that has protested multiple public health measures for Covid-19, including vaccines – will cover the costs, according to the Times.

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