Are New Federal Vaccine Laws Coming?

Have you seen the headlines?

CNN ran a story about how the Federal government might step in to change lax vaccine laws.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t, as few media outlets took the click bait and ran with the story…

Are New Federal Vaccine Laws Coming?

So what’s the story?

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb originally told Axios that “Too many states have lax laws.”

This led to the article by CNN.

“Some states are engaging in such wide exemptions that they’re creating the opportunity for outbreaks on a scale that is going to have national implications,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Tuesday in an interview with CNN.

If “certain states continue down the path that they’re on, I think they’re going to force the hand of the federal health agencies,” he added.

FDA chief: Federal government might step in if states don’t change lax vaccine laws

Force the hand of the federal health agencies to do what?

“The commissioner was vague on when he thought the federal government should take action and what exactly that action should be. “You could mandate certain rules about what is and isn’t permissible when it comes to allowing people to have exemptions,” he said.”

FDA chief: Federal government might step in if states don’t change lax vaccine laws

Yeah, except neither the FDA, CDC, nor any other federal health agency could actually do that.

“Historically, the preservation of the public health has been the primary responsibility of state and local governments, and the authority to enact laws relevant to the protection of the public health derives from the state’s general police powers. With regard to communicable disease outbreaks, these powers may include the enactment of mandatory vaccination laws.”

Mandatory Vaccinations: Precedent and Current Laws

Of course, that hasn’t kept anti-vaccine folks from getting their feathers ruffled.

Is a story about something that can't really happen a coordinated attack on our medical freedom?

What could the Federal government do about vaccines to cause folks to revolt?

“Any federal mandatory vaccination program applicable to the general public would likely be limited to areas of existing federal jurisdiction, i.e., interstate and foreign commerce, similar to the federal quarantine authority. This limitation on federal jurisdiction acknowledges that states have the primary responsibility for protecting the public health, but that under certain circumstances, federal intervention may be necessary.”

Mandatory Vaccinations: Precedent and Current Laws

Not much.

There isn’t much room for the Federal government to intervene to improve vaccination rates at the state level, except maybe to make sure that vaccines are readily available to everyone that wants them.

Federal jurisdiction over public health matters derives from the Commerce Clause, which states that Congress shall have the power “[t]o regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States….”

Mandatory Vaccinations: Precedent and Current Laws

Or is there…

Vaccine preventable diseases are just a plane ride away.
Vaccine preventable diseases are just a plane ride away.

Considering that most measles outbreaks are imported, one very simple Federal law that could help might be one that simply reminds folks who plan a trip out of the country to get vaccinated and protected.

That could help them remember to get caught up on their vaccines so that they don’t come home measles, triggering an outbreak.

Not a requirement to get vaccinated, as that would be hard to enforce, but education and reminders about the recommended vaccines you should get before a trip.

Would that cause anti-vaccine folks to revolt?

Are New Federal Vaccine Laws Coming?

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