Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination: It’s Worth a Shot
40 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2021
Date Written: January 26, 2021
The last greatest plague in the United States was the 1918 Spanish Flu. However, in December 2019, a novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China ultimately ended up spreading to six continents. In January 2020, the first case of coronavirus (“COVID-19”) was officially diagnosed in the United States. By the end of March, cases had been diagnosed in all fifty states, and President Donald Trump officially declared a national emergency. With the insurgency of this global pandemic, there has been a race in the United States to create a COVID-19 vaccine. Historically, vaccines take years of research and testing before reaching the clinic. However, scientists have raced to produce a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020. With now the creation of not one, but two COVID-19 vaccines, and potentially another on the brink of distribution several questions and concerns are raised, especially involving our nation’s youth.
There is little question that adults today have the absolute right to control their own body. This includes refusing health care interventions such as lifesaving and life-saving intervention, unless this decision has a direct impact on others. Accordingly, the right to control one’s own body is a well established principle between both the federal and state law systems. A right to control one’s own body includes the right to refuse vaccination. However, how does this right translate to children in our country. A hypothetical mandatory COVID-19 vaccine for schoolchildren would not be targeting adults, but rather children. Duly, this raises several questions and concerns about our country’s schoolchildren, and if it will be unconstitutional for states to institute a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine.
This comment will focus on the history of school entry childhood vaccination policies, COVID-19 and the threat it poses, scientific basis for vaccinations versus the anti-vaccination movement, and the development and potential impact of the COVID-19 vaccine on schoolchildren.
JEL Classification: I1, 128, 120
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation