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Polarization and vaccination

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Institutions of higher education generally have requirements that students and often employees show proof of various vaccinations. Essentially nobody complains that such requirements are violations of medical privacy or any other important liberty interest because they aren’t. (As Paul says, there’s no more “right” to go unvaccinated around a captive audience than there is to drive while intoxicated.)

But it has become Republican dogma that opposing anti-COVID measures is good because it owns the libs, and so:

For more than 400 colleges and universities, it is being billed as the ticket to a normal year on campus: Require all students to be vaccinated for the coronavirus before they can matriculate next fall.

From just one university in March, to a dozen by the first week of April, the trickle has become a tide over the past month — depending on just where students are attending school.

In a divided nation, college vaccine mandates are mostly following familiar fault lines. As of this weekend, only 34 — roughly 8 percent — are in states that voted for Donald J. Trump, according to a tracker created by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Nine of those were added on Friday, when Indiana University and its satellite campuses became rare public universities in a Republican-controlled state to mandate vaccines. Though the 400 campuses are only about 10 percent of the nation’s roughly 4,000 colleges and universities, experts say the political gap is likely to persist.

With many colleges facing falling enrollments and financial pressure, the decision whether to require vaccinations can have huge consequences. Particularly in Republican-controlled states, college presidents are weighing a delicate equation — part safety, part politics, part peer pressure and part economic self-interest.

We should also mention that when Ron DeSantis declared that the extensive vaccination requirements of Florida public universities would not include COVID-19 for absolutely no defensible reason he was rewarded with a bunch of fawning coverage, so why not.

In addition, HIPAA does not mean what Republicans think it means.

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