SCOTUS Gives Indiana University the Green Light to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccinations
The decision marks first time Supreme Court has become involved in a vaccine-related matter.
Despite attempts by eight students to have the Supreme Court ban Indiana University (IU) from requiring students to mandate COVID-19 vaccines in order to attend school this fall, per Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s decision, IU will continue with its vaccination mandate.
The students, seven of which qualify for religious exemption, claimed in Klaassen v. Trustees of Indiana University that they have a “constitutional right to bodily integrity, autonomy, and of medical treatment choice in the context of a vaccination mandate,” reports CBS News. However, Barrett rejected the plea without consulting her colleagues in the decision. The move is an indication that she and the other justices don’t believe the matter was a particularly close case, reports ScotusBlog.
IU can now continue to require roughly 90,000 students and 40,000 employees on seven campuses to be vaccinated for the fall semester. If not, student registrations can be canceled and employees can lose their jobs. Those who are religiously exempt must get tested twice a week.
The decision marks the first time the Supreme Court has become involved in a vaccination case and is an indication that similar policies implemented to stem the recent surge of COVID-19 infections could pass legal muster.
The eight students who asked the court for an emergency order argued that the risks associated with the vaccine outweighed the potential benefits for the population in their age group. The recent rejection of the requested ban comes after a federal judge ruled last month that the school had a right to pursue “a reasonable and due process of vaccination in the legitimate interest of public health for its students, faculty, and staff.” The students have many options, the judge said, such as applying for exemptions, taking the semester off, viewing classes online or attending other universities.
IU isn’t the only university requiring vaccinations of incoming students and employees. According The Chronical of Higher Education, more than 670 of U.S. colleges and universities require that students be vaccinated. This includes public schools such as the University of California (UC) system, Michigan State University, as well as private universities such as Stanford, Duke, Harvard and Notre Dame.
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