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WMU loses appeal over athletes and virus vaccine requirement

Posted at 2:00 PM, Oct 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 15:38:08-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of athletes at Western Michigan University.

They sued to be able to play sports without getting a COVID-19 vaccination, citing religious reasons.

RELATED: Athletes, worker challenge vaccine rules at Michigan schools

The appeals court declined to freeze a decision by a judge, who said the vaccine policy at WMU likely violates a constitutional right to follow a religion.

The appeals court says at least 16 athletes sought a vaccine exemption on religious grounds but were ignored or denied.

WMU can require them to wear a mask or be regularly tested for COVID-19, under an injunction from a judge in Grand Rapids.

In their lawsuit, the athletes say they are “devoted Christian people” who believe that the Bible and their faith preclude them from getting a COVID-19 shot.