GOP legislators protest Indiana University’s vaccine order

  • Comments
  • Print

Nearly 20 state legislators are protesting Indiana University’s decision to require all students and employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, and they want the governor to block the move.

A letter dated Tuesday to Gov. Eric Holcomb calls on him to prohibit any state university from mandating vaccines that don’t have full U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. The letter follows IU’s announcement on Friday that COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for the fall semester on all of its campuses.

“Enforcing a mandate that students and faculty accept a vaccine that does not have full FDA approval is unconscionable,” said the letter written by Rep. Jim Lucas of Seymour and signed by 18 fellow Republican House members. No high-ranking Republican leaders, however, signed the letter.

The governor’s office said Holcomb would review the letter after he returns Thursday from a trip to Israel.

IU spokesman Chuck Carney said university officials are prioritizing the safety of students and employees.

“IU’s vaccine policy is a clear path forward that will ensure a higher rate of immunity and the opportunity to give our students, faculty and staff a more typical university experience,” Carney said.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

15 thoughts on “GOP legislators protest Indiana University’s vaccine order

  1. As the father of a college student (not at IU), I totally support IU’s decision. They are protecting their students and staff with this mandate, if you want to call it that, and it’s a decision that is essential for returning everyone to the classroom. Returning ALL students to in-class attendance should be a NATIONAL priority of the highest order – Pre-K, K-12 and secondary education. The General Assembly has no place in this decision and some of the worst decisions in education are made by legislators, not educators. And this “attempt” by the 20 members of the General Assembly to interfere with this decision has no place in our state.

  2. As a physician who has been dealing with this pandemic for more than a year, I fully support IU’s decision and sincerely hope that all Indiana colleges and universities follow suit. We are just now seeing the incredible success of COVID-19 vaccination. IU indeed is showing appropriate concern for the health of its students and employees. The vaccines have been proven to be overwhelmingly effective and safe. There is no credible argument against vaccination. Lack of full authorization by the FDA is just a bureaucratic detail. The studies have all shown safety and efficacy. I agree with David that returning all students to the classroom is an absolute must, and vaccination of all eligible students and teachers will make this safe.

    I find it ironic that the same legislators who opposed Governor Holcomb’s executive orders during the pandemic and took reckless action in overriding his recent vetoes now want him to use executive authority to hamstring vaccination efforts at IU.

  3. What this demonstrates is that at lest some legislators have no idea as to what they are passing into law. It makes me wonder what other laws were enacted without knowledge of what they were voting for or against.

  4. In a study done by Megan O’Driscoll and Henrik Safe (in article published by Alex Berezow, PhD) which collected data on COVID-19 deaths in 45 countries they developed a COVID Infection-Fatality Rates by Sex and Age. According to this mortality table the probability of death due to COVID for a person between the ages of 20-24 was 1 in 16,700,000. Ages 15-19 was about 1 in 33,000,000. It was not until age 65 that the probability of death is 1 in 100,000 reached. These are averages. Males at age 25 begin to have about twice the probability of death vs. females. With this data, and the immunizations side effects, some of which are known, others are yet unknown, why subject our children to the risks of the requiring the immunization? Let every parent make their own decision regarding the health of their children.

    1. Well first of all, college students are young adults, not children. They can make the decision to transfer schools if they don’t want to agree to the rules of their school.

      No schools that I am aware of are requiring children to get the vaccine, but they probably will at some point. I was required to get the Swine Flu vaccine in 2009 at my high school in Indiana because of an outbreak. That was also approved under an emergency use authorization. This isn’t new, it’s just been politicized by the right-wing media and right-wing politicians.

    2. Lee, your math is WAY off. Even if this country were all old people and we take your most frequent odds of 1 in 100,000, with almost 600,000 deaths now, that means we’d have to have a population of 60 billion people.

    3. I’m pleased to see a vaccine opponent citing actual research, which doesn’t seem to happen very often. Unfortunately, it appears that this comment grossly misinterprets the research. See the link below for the actual article by Dr. Berezow (the article, by the way, is six months old…much has happened since it was written). Here is a pertinent quote from that article: “Note that an IFR of 0.001% means that one person in that age group will die for every 100,000 infected.” The age groups with an IFR of 0.001 are 5-9 and 10-14, and per the author’s own statement, that means those groups have a probability of death of 1 in 100,000. Now, to continue quoting the article, which notes that the IFR goes up dramatically with the 65-69 age group: “This group has an overall IFR just over 1% (or 1 death for every 100 infected). That’s a fairly major risk of death.” So… what Lee has stated above is accurate in that older people are at much greater risk. But the math is off by a factor of as much as a thousand.

    4. And, by the way, Lee also says “why subject our children to the risks of the requiring the immunization?” Please cite the research on those risks that you find worrisome. All the research I have seen, the actual scientific research, suggests that any vaccine risk is extremely low. Even the blood clotting risk that led to the pause in administration of the J&J vaccine affected somewhere under 1 in a million, with a death rate far lower than that (and in fact, the single death was not even definitively linked to the vaccine). So, the odds of death among college-age kids is far, far greater from COVID than it is from the vaccine.

  5. In addition to reducing the risk of death, successful community wide vaccination reduces the rate of infection, rate of spread, the risk of new variant development, overall severity of illness, and can eventually lead to eradication of the virus (e.g. Smallpox, Polio). Eradication rather than control of infection alone should be our goal. Ten percent of those infected with COVID-19 will develop “long COVID” symptoms that can linger for months and perhaps forever. It is highly likely that vaccines will reduce this long term risk as well, simply by reducing cases.

  6. It’s one of many “public colleges” in the state with funds from taxpayers.Attend a private college if you don’t agree with this policy.Suck it up buttercup!

  7. My granddaughter contracted COVID last fall at her sorority house. She was very sick for 3-4 days and did recover, but all students at her college are now required to get the vaccine.

    Of course colleges should require the COVID vaccine. They require vaccines of other sorts before students are admitted to campus. Vaccine requirements for COVID are no different than those for small pox, measles, polio, or other dangerous, infectious diseases.

    College kids are constantly in group settings. They sleep in dorm rooms of up to 50 students. They eat meals together in dining halls. They sit near each other in classrooms and pass hundreds of other students in hallways several times per day. They use the same door handles into every campus building and restroom. They handle the same library books and lab equipment. They borrow clothes from each other.

    Campuses are super-spreaders on steroids. It’s irresponsible and life-threatening NOT to require vaccines.