The US Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from students who sought to strike down Indiana University’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate, leaving in place a potentially key legal precedent for forced inoculations. The appellate court rejected the plaintiffs’ initial appeal, noting that they had other options, such as taking courses online, going to another school or applying for a medical or religious exemption. The court cited a 1905 case in which a Massachusetts mandate for a smallpox vaccine was upheld, at least partly on the basis that the government had a rational reason for ordering inoculations amid a health crisis. Hundreds of US colleges and universities have imposed vaccine mandates, while some have waited to determine the legality of such orders. Still others have said their mandates are contingent on full FDA approval of one or more Covid-19 vaccines, inasmuch as the three jabs currently available in the US have received only emergency use authorization.
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