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Students sue Santa Clara University over booster mandate

Two students sued Santa Clara University over its COVID-19 vaccine booster shot requirement Monday.

The lawsuit said sophomore Harlow Glenn, 20, agreed to get her first Pfizer COVID-19 shot last year to comply with the university’s vaccine mandate, but alleges she suffered numbing in her legs, headaches, menstrual cycle disruptions, severe bloody urine, body pains and hair loss. The university, she said, denied her requests for religious and medical exemptions from the shots.

Another sophomore, Jackson Druker, 19, agreed to comply with the initial vaccination requirement and hasn’t suffered a bad reaction, but does not want to take the additional risk of a booster shot, the lawsuit said.

Both students face disenrollment under university policy if they have not received the required initial and booster shots by March 17, the lawsuit said.

“It’s incredible that SCU expects students to take additional doses of experimental products when they already caused them harm, just to be able to continue their college educations,” Glenn said in a statement from the law firms handling the lawsuit. “I am not willing to put my health or life on the line like that again.”

Santa Clara University had no immediate response Monday.

The lawsuit was filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court on behalf of the students and Children’s Health Defense-California, a nonprofit that has challenged other vaccine requirements, by attorneys for Facts Law Truth Justice. It alleges negligence, breach of contract and emotional distress.

COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students have been controversial but have had uneven success in courts.

A majority of active judges on the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in January declined to reinstate a stay on San Diego Unified School District’s vaccine requirement for students age 16 and older while the case is pending.

Last August, the US Supreme Court denied a bid by eight Indiana University students to block the school’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

But the group behind the lawsuit against Santa Clara University said its legal actions prevented Piedmont Unified School District from imposing its vaccine mandate on children as young as 5 years old, and in getting Los Angeles Unified School District to put off its student vaccine mandate until the fall.

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