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GOP state lawmakers, including two from Fort Wayne, want Gov. Holcomb to overturn IU COVID vaccine requirement

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ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WPTA21) - A group of Republican state legislators, including Bob Morris and Martin Carbaugh from Fort Wayne, is seeking to stop Indiana University from making students, faculty and staff get COVID-19 shots before participating in the upcoming fall semester.

The policy would apply to the main campus in Bloomington and regional campuses such as Indiana Fort Wayne.

The lawmakers want Governor Eric Holcomb to step in and block the change from taking effect.

Late last week, IU officials announced the mandatory vaccine policy, saying it is the only way the university can confidently return to in-person classes and more in-person events.

To meet the requirement, students, faculty and staff must have their first dose of vaccine by July 1 and be fully vaccinated by August 15, or when they return to campus.

19 state lawmakers signed a letter sent to Governor Holcomb on Tuesday, urging him to use his executive authority to prohibit state universities from mandating such a requirement.

It goes on to say enforcing such a mandate for a vaccine that so far does not have full FDA approval is "unconscionable".

State Representative Bob Morris is adamant the IU policy should not stand.

"These students need to be educated, they need to have their liberties respected. You know, our forefathers gave us these privileges and it's really bothersome to me and I look forward to hopefully correcting it as the session goes on this year," Morris said.

It is worth noting that Republican lawmakers fought successfully against Governor Holcomb's ability to use executive authority to put emergency health orders in place during the pandemic, such as the state's long-running mask mandate.

A statement came down Wednesday from Indiana University, a portion of it reading, "Requiring a vaccine for the IU community is in keeping with other measures that have supported the health of our campus communities for more than a year...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."

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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