Indiana University reviewing vaccine mandate amid criticism

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Indiana University is reviewing its new COVID-19 vaccination requirement as more state officials line up against it.

IU defended Thursday the policy requiring vaccinations for all students and employees as a way to safely return to full in-person classes and events on all its campuses starting with the fall semester.

But IU said it “will further consider our process for verifying the requirement” a day after the state attorney general issued a non-binding opinion that the policy was illegal under a new state law banning the state or local governments from issuing or requiring vaccine passports.

Nearly all Republican members of the Indiana Senate on Thursday joined the criticism of IU’s policy. They sent a letter to university President Michael McRobbie saying the policy violates a federal law prohibiting entities from requiring vaccines that haven’t received full federal approval and the state’s vaccine passport ban.

“This heavy-handed mandate goes against many of the liberties on which our founders built our democratic republic,” said the letter signed by 35 of the 39 Republicans who dominate the state Senate.

The letter criticizes the IU policy as potentially causing low-income students to lose state and federal aid and putting the jobs of employees in jeopardy if they “refuse to yield to the university’s vaccine order.”

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12 thoughts on “Indiana University reviewing vaccine mandate amid criticism

  1. The vaccine sure seems to be working generally. For the sake of those kids, and everyone with whom those kids come in contact–think of Spring Break–I sure hope they keep the requirement in place. It is a public health issue, like all of the other required vaccines, not personal liberty, not politics. If I have a kid going to IU, i want all of those kids vaccinated.

    1. NO Richard. No one knows the long-term effects of the vaccine on child-bearing age women and men. No one is going to force my kid to take something that could later cause sterility or cancer. Not trying to be alarmist, just careful. Especially if they have already had covid – there is NO purpose for them to be required to take a vaccine. None.

    2. Rebecca is right on this. In spite of the vaccine helping millions of people it is fair to say we don’t know the long term effects on anyone and that’s why I get upset at the people that like to compare these vaccines to other required vaccines that kids get. It’s not a fair comparison because those have longstanding use and the Coronavirus vaccines are new and were spun up in a very short time. I had a problem with the J&J and will not be doing any type of booster until they know more about the effects and who can safely take them and who shouldn’t. To say 100% of everyone should get one has not had a loved one who had problems with one of the vaccines and what about all of those who have the natural antibodies from having Covid? We’re doing pretty good without mandates and need to keep working at getting another 20% nationwide which can be done without forcing someone.

  2. This is simply ridiculous and idiotic. Schools at all levels — including IU — mandate all kinds of other immunizations and prohibit attendance if you’ve not been vaccinated. Why should IU not also mandate a vaccine against the current pandemic that has killed nearly 600,000 Americans? This is not a “freedom” issue…it’s simple, science-driven common sense. The fact that almost the entire Republican caucus of the Indiana Senate has lined up against it just shows what a bunch of partisan fools we have running our state. And as for the attorney general, same. The new ill-advised law, according to the IBJ, bans “the state or local governments from issuing or requiring vaccine passports.” IU is state-supported but is not government. And requiring a shot is not the same thing as creating or requiring a vaccine passport. What’s next for these idiots… preventing IU from requiring meningitis vaccines, too? Or measles? Meningitis, like COVID, spreads easily in exactly the kind of environment that exists on a college campus, which is why colleges such as IU try to protect students from getting it. When I was an IU student years ago, we had a measles outbreak, and IU responded by offering free measles shots. Was that an attack on freedom, too? What is wrong with the idiots at the Indiana Statehouse, who believe attacking a virus is the same thing as attacking freedom? Why do voters keep sending them back to further damage our state?

    1. Because, my uneducated friend, the vaccine was approved for emergency purposes only and is not fully tested regarding any long-term effects. College age kids are not likely to die from COVID, unlike polio or meningitis. Keep it in perspective. Its an unproven, untested flu shot that is not necessary for public health.

  3. Steve K. there is a lot of emotion and rhetoric in your response but not much logic or science. You are not comparing apples to apples. Most all of these decisions being made seem to be mostly based on fear. The fact is that the vaccine, which I have received on my own decision, was hurried to market without all of the safeguards and time-honored testing usually required before a vaccine is officially approved by the FDA. It does seem to be working and that is a good thing. Would you agree that there is still a good deal of things we do not know about it and the long-term side effects and other possibilities about the virus itself and the vaccine? Have the so-called “experts” changed their advice and counsel to the public over the last year? I say if a student wants the vaccine; get it. If they do not, then why force them to get it when there is so much of the unknown. I do not think it fair to criticize legislators for simply saying, “not so fast” to policies that affect so many without considering the potential possibilities and ramifications. That is the formula oftentimes for lawsuits. It might be wisdom to look before we leap. It is amazing to me that so many people are willing to concede liberty at the whim of knee jerk reactions by those in authority who think they know what is best for us.

    1. I must respectfully disagree with almost everything you have said, Joe. As a physician involved in battling this pandemic, I can assure you that the vaccines were not rushed to market. All of those approved have followed the same procedures as any approved vaccine. All have undergone successful phase 1, phase 2, and phase 3 trials involving tens of thousands of individuals. They have been shown to be remarkably safe and effective against the worst public health threat in a century. While these vaccines were developed in record time, they built on research that has been ongoing for 2 decades. As Steve said, this is not a freedom issue. It is a public health issue and universities already require vaccines against many other diseases. To protect students, faculty and staff, mandating vaccination is the smartest approach. Health care organizations are now beginning to mandate vaccination for their employees and I sincerely hope that most if not all will do this in the coming months. The FDA should grant full approval for the 3 current vaccines in the US market.

    2. Paul, most required vaccines are for life-threatening diseases that affect those getting the vaccine. Elderly people typically get a flu vaccine, because, for them, getting the flu can lead to pneumonia and hospitalization and even death. That is not the case with younger, healthy students. The vaccine should be optional based on an individual’s health and predispositions.

  4. I wonder if IU will lose enrollment. Or if, a generation from now, all of their would-be donors are incapacitated or dead from an unintended consequence (blood clots, strokes…?) of getting the vaccine, while Purdue marches on and continues to build enrollment.

  5. Joe, I was interested in your comments about “experts”: (quotation marks yours) above. Yes the experts made changes in their advice and counsel when unimpeded by their political superiors. These experts are capable of recognizing changes in a new, fast moving and very complicated disease, and making changes in advice as new knowledge dictates. That advice, (again when unimpeded by their political superiors) good and helpful as it was updated.
    It has been my observation that political “experts” (quotation marks mine) have tended to adopt a position and then stick to it come hell or high water, a product of their lack of understanding of scientific data and scientific thought, and of their fear of damage to their political careers. Scientific experts, on the other hand, must make updated assessments of a public health problem as it progresses. If they cannot respond in a timely fashion they are not doing the work expected of public health experts.