US 'People who do not want to be vaccinated may go elsewhere': Court backs Indiana University mandate
The Mask Mandate Debate Is Back. Here’s What to Know.
Amid the Delta-fueled wave of U.S. COVID cases, universal mask mandates are back on the table and as politically fraught as ever.A week ago, Los Angeles County became the first major metropolitan area to reinstate a mask mandate in indoor public spaces for both unvaccinated and vaccinated residents. And amid a nationwide surge of new COVID-19 fueled by the more transmissible Delta variant, America’s largest county isn’t the only place where universal mask mandates are back on the table. The Delta wave has thus reignited the already politically charged debate over face mask mandates.
INDIANAPOLIS — Students who don't like Indiana University's COVID-19 vaccine requirement can.
That was the message delivered by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in a ruling issued Monday that will allow the public university's requirement that all students and employees receive a COVID-19 vaccine before the start of the fall semester to stand.
The court said that colleges and universities may decide what is necessary to keep students safe in the decision denying a request for an injunction made by a group of eight students seeking to block the mandate, alleging that it violates their constitutional rights.
Experts Slam Biden's ‘Unconvincing’ Push for Vaccine Mandate
The White House is set to announce the largest vaccine mandate in modern history in the coming days in response to growing concern over the delta variant of COVID-19, the latest and most abrupt change in a pandemic response strategy that has yet to get the virus under control. Federal workers and contractors will soon be required to prove that they are fully vaccinated, or will otherwise be required to wear masks and undergo routine COVID-19 testing, according to a source familiar with the upcoming mandate.
"People who do not want to be vaccinated may go elsewhere," wrote Judge Frank Easterbrook in the decision. He added that the university would have trouble operating if students were afraid that those around them were spreading disease.
The students' lawyer, James Bopp Jr., said he will be filing an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Vaccine mandates are gaining momentum:
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IU’s policy, announced this spring, requires all students, faculty and staff in the fall semester to be fully vaccinated either by Aug. 15 or when returning to campus after Aug. 1, whichever is earlier.
Masks are back, as Delta variant forces dramatic reversal in US
The US reverses mask guidance, extends travel restrictions and weighs up vaccination mandates as it fights rising cases and vaccine hesitancy.Less than a month ago, the United States seemed to be shaking off the shackles of the coronavirus pandemic. A sense of achievement was in the air. At a Fourth of July celebration, President Joe Biden said America was roaring back to life and "closer than ever" to declaring its independence from the virus.
There are certain medical and religious exemptions to the mandate, but unvaccinated students will need to continue following some coronavirus mitigation strategies the university is easing for other students who are fully vaccinated.
"Once again, the court has affirmed our legitimate public health interest in assuring the safety of our students, faculty and staff, and we are excited to welcome our community back for the fall semester," said IU spokesperson Chuck Carney in a statement released Monday.
In court last month, Bopp argued that the vaccine requirement violates students' rights to bodily integrity, informed choice of medical treatment and religious freedom, essentially forcing them to choose between getting vaccinated and continuing their education at IU. A federal judge sided with IU in the case, prompting the students to appeal to the 7th Circuit.
Covid vaccine mandates are on the rise. Will that move the needle?
Vaccination requirements may capture more people who haven't yet been inoculated. "Every little bit helps," a doctor said, but the true impact remains unclear."Every little bit helps," Dr. Aaron Carroll, the chief health officer of Indiana University who has written about the efficacy of vaccine mandates, said Wednesday. "The reason mandates work is because they're nudges. If we make the default 'Don't be vaccinated,' then a lot of people simply won't.
Mask mandates by states:
While several of the students involved in the suit have applied for, and been granted, exemptions based on their religious beliefs, the complaint says they also object to extra requirements put on students who receive exemptions, such as required mask-wearing in public spaces and twice-weekly COVID-19 mitigation testing.
IU's vaccine requirement came from recommendations put forth by the university's "restart committee," charged by then-IU President Michael McRobbie with getting campuses back to pre-pandemic operations. But the mandate has been embroiled in controversy since it was announced earlier this year. State officials have called on the university to rescind the mandate; others have asked Gov. Eric Holcomb to block it.
Other private higher education institutions around the state have adopted similar policies, including Butler University and the University of Notre Dame.
Biden Defends New Vaccine Requirement for Federal Workers
Before President Joe Biden took office, he said he didn’t think vaccines should be mandatory. And he said in May that he didn’t think masks should be required for vaccinated people either. But with the delta variant of coronavirus continuing to spread, and more than 40 percent of Republicans refusing to get vaccinated, Biden is now preaching a different message. On Thursday, Biden announced that vaccines would be mandatory for nearly all federal employees, and he said the Justice Department was looking into whether the government could mandate vaccines for the whole country.
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This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star:
Students ask Supreme Court to block college vaccine mandate .
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is being asked to block a plan by Indiana University to require students and employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. It's the first time the high court has been asked to weigh in on a vaccine mandate and comes as some corporations, states and cities are also contemplating or have adopted vaccine requirements for workers or even to dine indoors. The case is not the first time a coronavirus-related issue has been before the court. In rulings over the past year the conservative-dominated high court has largely backed religious groups who have challenged restrictions on indoor services during the cononavirus pandemic.