Compulsory Vaccinations : Should It Be Mandatory Out Of Vaccinations?

1805 Words8 Pages
Heather Slack
Compulsory Vaccinations: Should States Eliminate Non-Medical Exemptions to Opt Out of Vaccinations?
MGH Institute of Health Professions

Introduction It is estimated that vaccinations have prevented more than 100 million cases of serious diseases (Gostin, 2015). Presently, all 50 states mandate that children age 5 and older be vaccinated prior to enrolling in school, however many states have exemptions to those laws. These include exemptions for medical contraindications, religious exemptions and in 20 states there are exemptions for personal philosophical reasons (Gostin, 2015). There have been great strides in health outcomes as a result of high vaccination rates. For example, measles was
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History of Mandated Vaccinations In 1809 Massachusetts was the first state to require citizens to be vaccinated against smallpox (Nelson, 2012). The law was in place without any major challenges until 1902 when Henning Jacobson refused vaccination and took his legal case all the way to the Supreme Court in Jacobson v. Massachusetts. The Supreme Court ruled that constitutional liberties could be encroached on when the safety of the general public is concerned (Nelson, 2012). That court decision put into place precedence that the health safety of the greater community should be considered ahead of the autonomy of the individual. Despite this ruling, states were slow to warm up to the idea of mandatory vaccination requirements. The Jacobson ruling came down in 1905, however by 1963 only 20 states had mandatory vaccination laws. After a measles outbreak in the 1970’s the Department of Health and Human Services advocated for school immunization requirements and by 1980 all 50 states had enacted school entry immunization laws (Nelson, 2012). While there are legal requirements for vaccinations in all 50 states, there are specific provisions for exemptions in different states as previously mentioned.
An Argument Against Mandated Vaccinations There are many reasons patients refuse vaccinations. In the majority of theses cases it is parental objection as it are
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