Challenge to Indiana University vaccine mandate nixed again

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 2:38 PM EST
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal appeals court is letting Indiana University keep its COVID-19 vaccination requirement for students in place, dealing another legal blow to a lawsuit challenging it.

The Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling Tuesday that declared the lawsuit moot since seven of the eight students who sued the university had been granted religious exemptions and the other has withdrawn as a student.

Indiana University announced last May that the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for its some 115,000 students and employees at campuses around the state would take effect in the fall semester.

The students who sued the university argued that such vaccine requirements violate their rights to “bodily autonomy.” They also contended that COVID-19 vaccines differ from other immunizations frequently required for college students, such as for measles and meningitis, because of their newness and the lower risks that younger adults have of suffering from severe bouts of COVID-19.

A federal judge in South Bend and the appeals court rejected efforts to block the mandate before Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett did the same in August.

James Bopp, the Terre Haute attorney representing the students, said the newest ruling wasn’t on the merits of the lawsuit and that he planned to continue pursuing it.

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