U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett,, on Thursday, August 12, denied an attempt by students to block Indiana University’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
According to NBCBayArea, the Judge declined the emergency request by a group of students who filed the complaint in June and wanted legal interference in the policy, which they said violated their “constitutional right to bodily integrity, autonomy and the choice of medical treatment in the context of a vaccination mandate.”
Reuters noted that Barrett denied the students’ emergency request without providing a rationale or bringing the case to the full court for consideration. The students had said the school was “treating its students as children who cannot be trusted to make mature decisions.”
The students’ plea for an injunction in the midst of the lawsuit had been denied by lower courts.
In July, In July, Judge Damon Leichty of the U.S. District Court in South Bend, Indiana, agreed with the school, ruling that the policy was not coercive. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago also turned down the pupils, argueing that immunization mandates are acceptable.
“A university will have trouble operating when each student fears that everyone else may be spreading disease,” the appeals court said, according to Reuters.
Judge Barret’s decision came out during a sensitive period in the U.S. as the country is seeing new COVID-19 cases per day since July, and most of them were fueled by the Delta variant. Latest reports also discovered that the variant could affect younger patients who purportedly were less vulnerable to the original virus.
Indiana University announced their vaccination demand in May. The policy would require nearly 90,000 students and 40,000 employees to get immunized as they return to seven of the school’s campuses this fall.
Students who fail to comply will be dismissed from school, and employees who fail to comply will lose their jobs, NBCBayArea reported. There are religious and medical exceptions to the ban, but exempt students must be tested for COVID-19 twice a week.
In the latest update, the university had also required attendees and staff to put a mask on indoors regardless of their vaccination status.
Data by the New York Times revealed that as of August 12, the state was seeing a 7-day average of 2,109 new cases, with a daily count of 3,152 newly infected patients.
Vaccination rates in Indiana were not too significant, as it only had 45% of its legitimate population fully vaccinated,, with those who received at least one dose accounting for 48%.