Two students in Missouri have successfully convinced their local dental school to allow them to attend classes without taking a COVID-19 vaccine.
Sharon Murza and Ashley Swanson are students at A.T. Still University School of Dentistry and Oral Health. Both of these women believe that receiving the vaccine is a violation of their religious beliefs. The pair decided to partner with Liberty Counsel, a right-leaning Christian law firm, to challenge the mandate so they can attend classes without receiving the vaccine.
The pair attempted to apply for an exemption to the vaccine, only for the school to claim that there was “unsubstantiated evidence” for them to be justified in not receiving the vaccine.
Liberty Counsel sent a legal letter to the university, claiming that the school could not require students to get the vaccine based on past FDA regulations. At the same time, the Missouri Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on religion when it comes to public accommodations.
“Forcing any person to receive one of these COVID injections is a violation of federal law.” Liberty Counsel founder Matt Staver argues in their press release. “The COVID injections are not licensed by the FDA and are still in the investigation and experimental phase. Even if they were licensed by the FDA, employers and schools must respect a person’s personal and religious decision to not inject a drug into their body.”
Liberty Counsel’s attempt to challenge the relevant policy was successful. The university approved the religious exemption for Murza and Swanson days after Liberty Counsel threatened potential legal action.