Listening to some parents talk about new vaccine laws, you would think that pediatricians are going to start kidnapping babies or simply hold them down to force them to get vaccinated and follow the latest immunization schedule.
Is there any truth to that?
Of course not.
The History of Vaccine Mandates
Surprisingly though, it took a long time to get vaccine mandates protecting more children. It wasn’t until the 1980-81 school year that there were laws in all 50 states mandating that children required vaccinations before starting school.
This followed continued measles outbreaks in the mid-1970s and studies showing that states with vaccine mandates had much lower rates of measles than states that didn’t. And it likely explains why there were 10 measles deaths in the United States as late as 1980, even though the first measles vaccine was introduced in 1963.
It took even longer for the vaccine mandates to cover kids in all grades and not just those entering school, to cover kids in daycare, and to cover kids in college. And tragically, it didn’t take long for politicians to chip away at those vaccine mandates. Over just a few years, from 1998 to 2000, 15 states added personal belief vaccine exemptions.
Still, even before the addition of personal belief vaccine exemptions and without the abuse of religious exemptions and medical exemptions, vaccine mandates have never equaled forced vaccination.
Even the Vaccination Act of 1853 in the UK, which required everyone to get a small pox vaccine, didn’t actually force them to get vaccinated. It originally levied fines on people until they got the vaccine, but they soon allowed a conscientious exemption to vaccination, which many people took advantage of. Over the years, so many people were claiming conscientious vaccine exemptions in the UK, that in 1946, they repealed their vaccine requirements altogether.
What Is a Vaccine Mandate?
Since a mandate is typically defined as an official order to do something, a vaccine mandate would be an order to get a vaccine. But it is hardly an order to hold down and force a vaccine on someone.
Likewise, state laws that mandate vaccines aren’t forcing kids to get vaccinated. They are typically mandates to get vaccinated before attending daycare, public and private schools, and/or college.
Is your child going to camp this year? They might mandate certain vaccines if kids want to attend.
Do Vaccine Mandates Force Parents to Vaccinate Their Kids?
Do vaccine mandates take away a person’s choice about getting vaccinated?
Of course not.
Again. We are not talking about forced vaccination.
For example, if you work in a hospital that requires a yearly flu vaccine, you can decide to work somewhere else. Sure, you no longer simply have the choice between getting vaccinated or leaving yourself unprotected and continuing to work at the same job, but you can still decide to skip the vaccine and look for another job.
These are mandates with a choice.
The same is true with vaccine mandates for kids to attend school or daycare. If you choose to skip one or more vaccines for a non-medical reason, then even if you are in a state that doesn’t allow religious or philosophical vaccine exemptions, you won’t be forced to get vaccinated. While it may not be an option you are happy with, homeschooling is an option for those who don’t want to vaccinate their kids.
That is your vaccine choice.
Public education is a benefit of those who comply with mandates or compulsory vaccination laws.
These state immunization laws and vaccine mandates have nothing to do with forced vaccination. They also don’t take away your informed consent, are not against the Nuremberg Code, and are not unconstitutional.
Have kids ever been forced to get vaccinations?
Not routinely, but there have been cases of health officials getting court orders to get kids vaccinated and protected, usually during outbreaks of a vaccine-preventable disease.
In 1991, for example, a judge ruled that parents of unvaccinated children who were members of the Faith Tabernacle Congregation in Pennsylvania had to get a measles vaccine. As a measles outbreak spread through Faith Tabernacle, an associated church, and the rest of the city, there were at least 486 cases of measles in the church, mostly among children, and 6 deaths.
“Parents are free to become martyrs themselves. But it does not follow that they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their children before they have reached the age of full and legal discretion when they can make that choice for themselves.”
Prince v. Massachusetts
In addition to being unvaccinated, these children didn’t get any medical care, as their families instead relied on prayer. Finally, after the order was appealed all the way to the state Supreme Court, only nine children got vaccinated.
When parents disagree about vaccines, a judge might also step in decide that a child be vaccinated over one parent’s objections. A child might also get vaccinated against their parents wishes if they have lost custody for reasons that have nothing to do with the child’s medical issues and so a legal guardian, which might be the state, is making those decisions now.
Still, these are not the usual circumstances we are talking about with state vaccine laws. They are simply laws to get kids vaccinated and protected before they are allowed to attend daycare or school.
What to Know About Vaccine Mandates and Forced Vaccinations
Vaccine mandates do not force parents to vaccinate their kids.
More on Vaccine Mandates and Forced Vaccinations
- State mandates on immunization and vaccine-preventable diseases
- History of Government Regulation of Vaccination
- Why Are Vaccines Mandated?
- Vaccination Mandates: The Public Health Imperative and Individual Rights
- Ethical Issues and Vaccines
- Vaccines and the Law
- Daycare Center and School Immunization Mandates
- Non-Medical Vaccine Exemptions: Balancing Parental Rights and Public Health
- More on the politicization of school vaccine mandates…
- School vaccine mandates are against the Nuremberg Code?
- Requiring influenza vaccination for health care workers:seven truths we must accept
- Religious Exemptions to Vaccine Mandates and the Law: Where Are We? Where Can We Go?
- Prince v. Massachusetts
- Review – Anti-vaccine activists, Web 2.0, and the postmodern paradigm – An overview of tactics and tropes used online by the anti-vaccination movement
- Antivax 101
- The truth behind common vaccine misconceptions
- Vaccine injuries and confirmation biases
- Vaccines: Separating Fact from Fear
- Letting go of the Paradigm of Fear
- Cashing In On Fear: The Danger of Dr. Sears