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Unpublished Paper
Needles and Notebooks: The Limits of Requiring Immunization for School Attendance
ExpressO (2009)
  • Allan J. Jacobs

The constitutional requirements for compulsory vaccination are analyzed in the context of the release of a vaccine against human papillomavirus, a virus associated with development of various kinds of cancer, requiring many years after infection for cancer to develop. Examination of the requirements of Jacobson v. Massachusetts suggests that proposed vaccination programs be subjected to a balancing test that considers the severity of the disease, the risks of the vaccine, the amount of overall clinical experience with the vaccine, and alternate methods of prevention. It is argued that there are further constraints if vaccination is to be a requirement for school attendance. Under these circumstances, the disease must either be one which is acquired in the normal course of school activities, or one which interferes with the education of a child that acquired the disease. This analysis will be fact-specific, and the outcome of the analysis can change if the general understanding of the underlying scientific facts changes appreciably.

  • human papillomavirus,
  • vaccination,
  • compulsory education
Publication Date
October 9, 2009
Citation Information
Allan J. Jacobs. "Needles and Notebooks: The Limits of Requiring Immunization for School Attendance" ExpressO (2009)
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