According to Center for Health Law Policy and Bioethics Director Dov Fox, the government can require people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, or be banned from stores and work.
“States can compel vaccinations in more or less intrusive ways,” he said. “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.”
The United States have never taken such an aggressive tactic regarding vaccines, and I pray they never do. However, we are in tryin times and there's no real way to know. Forcing vaccines would definitely strip us of our medical freedom though, and once that happens, what is there to stop the government from going more drastic? Mass sterilization, anyone?
San Diego News 10 reports:
The legal precedent dates back to 1905. In a landmark 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 in subsequent decisions.“Courts have found that when medical necessity requires it, the public health outweighs the individual rights and liberties at stake,” Fox said.
In 2019, New York City passed an ordinance that fined people who refused a measles vaccination.
That said, recent protests over face coverings show there could be significant backlash to a vaccine mandate, Fox said. Just because states have the power to do it, doesn’t mean it’s the best public policy, he added.
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.
Under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, employers are not required to accommodate religious employees if doing so would pose more than a “de minimis,” or minimal cost.
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