Individual U.S. states would be legally authorized to impose criminal penalties on individuals who refused to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.
Drugmakers are working overtime to come up with an answer to COVID-19. As they prepare to create a vaccination there have been many questions that have come up regarding who will be required to get it.
Questions like: “could the government require people to get it? or could people who refuse it will be banned from stores or lose their jobs?” have come up.
Well, according to Dov Fox, a law professor and the director of the Center for Health Law Policy and Bioethics at the University of San Diego, the answer is YES!
States can compel vaccinations in more or less intrusive ways. They can limit access to schools or services or jobs if people don’t get vaccinated. They could force them to pay a fine or even lock them up in jail.
Penalizing citizens for not getting vaccinated goes as far back as 1905. In the U.S. Supreme Court case, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the court ruled Massachusetts had the authority to fine people who refused vaccinations for smallpox.
That case formed the legal basis for vaccine requirements at schools and has been upheld since.
Dov Fox also stated that:
Courts have found that when medical necessity requires it, the public health outweighs the individual rights and liberties at stake.
2019 in New York City there was an ordinance passed that fined people who refused a measles vaccination.
It looks like this is what we face in the future. The bigger question is how many states will actually enforce these rules.
With so much backlash over the mask being mandatory to wear in public, lawmakers can anticipate that the backlash over the vaccine will be just as much.
Although states would have the authority to mandate vaccinations, there’s more doubt about whether Congress could enact a federal requirement.
The most likely federal vaccination requirement would come in the form of a tax penalty, but Fox said given the current composition of the Supreme Court, a federal vaccine requirement would likely be found unconstitutional.