MSU employee files lawsuit over university’s vaccine mandate, claims she has natural immunity

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Michigan State University requires all students and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. - SHUTTERSTOCK
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  • Michigan State University requires all students and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

A Michigan State University employee is suing the school over its vaccine mandate, arguing she has “robust immunity” after recovering from a COVID-19 infection.

In the federal class-action lawsuit filed, Jeanna Norris, a 37-year-old administrative associate and fiscal officer, claims MSU's vaccine policy is unconstitutional.



“The Directive is unmistakably coercive and cannot reasonably be considered anything other than an unlawful mandate,” the suit states. “Furthermore, it represents an unconstitutional condition being applied to Plaintiff’s constitutional and statutory rights to bodily integrity and informed consent, respectively."

The lawsuit was filed by the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a conservative-libertarian law firm based in Washington, D.C.



MSU and five other universities in Michigan are requiring students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated unless they have a medical or religious exemption.

Natural immunity is not the basis for a medical exemption at MSU.

“Along with all too many Americans, Ms. Norris is facing an impossible dilemma: lose her job or receive a vaccine that is medically unnecessary for her,” Jenin Younes, litigation counsel for the alliance, said in a statement. “Michigan State has placed her, and others like her, in this position for no good reason, because she has robust immunity as established by the overwhelming scientific literature. Many public health authorities, the media, and the CDC have resisted the conclusion that natural immunity exists and is as protective or more so than the best available vaccines. Through Ms. Norris’s case, the integrity of the scientific process, which has been severely compromised during the pandemic, can be vindicated through the court system.”

According to the lawsuit, Norris’ immunologist Dr. Hooman Noorchashm advised her that it’s not medically necessary to get vaccinated because recent antibodies tests showed she was immune to reinfection. But studies have shown that recovering from COVID-19 doesn’t guarantee immunity, and antibodies wane over time. Research also suggests that vaccines offer stronger protection than natural immunity alone, especially against variants.

“If you have had COVID-19 before, please still get vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said earlier this month. “Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious delta variant spreads around the country.”

MSU declined to comment for this story.

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