Federal Judge on USA Indiana University ruled Monday that it has the right to require students and staff to be vaccinated against covid-19, an issue that divides the country.
Judge Damon Leichti of the South Bend court in Chicago made this decision, the first on his case. compulsory vaccination in the US, but plaintiffs can appeal and go to the US Supreme Court.
Leichti refused to cancel the university’s new health regulations that went into effect ahead of classes starting August 1st to 15th. Under this regulation, vaccination against covid-19 is mandatory for the 90,000 students at Indiana University and its 40,000 staff, although exceptions are provided for religious or medical reasons.
What the constitution provides
The constitution allows students “to refuse any medical procedure based on the principle of self-determination of their body,” the judge said. But it also allows “the imposition of a vaccination process in the legitimate interest of public health,” he added. “This is exactly what the university did,” he concluded in a 100-page decision.
Of the eight plaintiffs, six had already been excluded from the vaccination against covid-19 for religious reasons, but they did not want to wear a mask or respect the rules of social distancing, Leichti recalled.
Some cited religious reasons or concerns that they would be discriminated against, while others described the measures as a “cultural attack”, the judge noted. In recent months, however, they have all agreed to respect sanitary measures in a different context.
The US immunization campaign, which has allowed the country to make great progress in curbing the coronavirus pandemic, appears to have stalled in recent weeks. About 68% of adults have received at least one dose of covid-19 vaccine, but there are large geographical variations.
Opposition to the vaccines is largely related to the political beliefs of Americans, with supporters of Republicans and especially former President Donald Trump being among their most ardent opponents.
Many conservative organizations, such as the student Turning Point, have launched a campaign against compulsory vaccination against covid-19 in universities and support all those who seek justice.
For their part, US universities have not taken a uniform stance, with about 500 of them so far demanding that students and staff be vaccinated against covid-19.