#Roommates, although it isn’t currently available, the forthcoming coronavirus vaccine could potentially land you in jail or face a hefty fine if you refuse to take it. Dating back to a law initially enacted in 1905, the United States has the full authority to place anyone in jail or fine them for refusing the vaccine.
@ABC10News reports, during a recent interview Dov Fox, a law professor and the Director of the Center for Health Law Policy and Bioethics at the University of San Diego, explained just how much power the U.S. has in regard to forcing citizens to take a vaccine or accept the consequences. “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.”
The legal precedent dates all the way back to 1905. Citing the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Jacobson v. Massachusetts—in which the court ruled Massachusetts had the authority to fine people who refused vaccinations for smallpox. That historic case formed the legal basis for vaccine requirements at schools, and has been upheld in subsequent decisions today. “Courts have found that when medical necessity requires it, the public health outweighs the individual rights and liberties at stake,” Fox said.
Although, Fox did also note that United States authorities have actually never attempted to jail people for refusing to vaccinate, but legally they could, just like other countries such as France that have adopted the aggressive tactic.
However, given the recent backlash over masks there could be even more protests over a vaccine mandate. There’s also doubt about whether Congress could enact a federal requirement.
Experts say that 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.
Meanwhile, in the workplace, private employers would have a lot of flexibility to require vaccinations and fire workers who refuse them for anything but legitimate medical concerns.
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