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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Vaccines Mandates Win in Court


Thank you, Howard, for letting me contribute as a guest blogger this month. For the past five years, I have been involved in the vaccine wars.

Vaccines have tremendous benefits. In the United States, vaccines prevent tens of thousands of deaths and millions of hospitalizations each year. Their risks, while real, are very small. And yet, a misguided minority rejects vaccines, and in some communities, their numbers are disturbingly high. One place they made little headway in are courts - as this state example, mirroring the national jurisprudence, demonstrates.

In 2015, after a measles outbreak centered on Disneyland, California, in a contentious, high intensity legal process, passed Senate Bill 277 (SB277), a bill removing the personal belief exemption from California’s immunization law. SB277 became law on June 30, 2015 when Governor Jerry Brown signed it. Since California did not have a separate religious exemption, the effect of the law was to almost completely remove non-medical exemptions to California’s school immunization law. Unsurprisingly, opponents turned to the courts. After losing in three federal district courts and two state superior courts, two groups of plaintiffs appealed. On July 2, 2018, a California Court of Appeal released the first appellate decision upholding the law. This case was brought by eight plaintiffs seeking to send their children to school unvaccinated, represented by a lawyer who was openly anti-vaccine.

There is a large literature showing  that states with easier to get exemptions have lower vaccination rates and that higher rates of exemptions are associated with more outbreaks of preventable diseases. School immunization requirements work: they increase vaccine rates, and they reduce rates of outbreaks, sometimes completely eliminating them (other things that may lead to outbreaks even when vaccine rates are high. For example, we need a better pertussis vaccine. But even there, non-vaccinating increases the risk and makes things worse).

Opponents’ strongest arguments were that the mandate violated California’s constitutional right to education, violated the First Amendment’s freedom of religion guarantee, and impermissibly interfered with parental rights. Even these, as the Court of Appeals – correctly – pointed out, were not convincing.

The Freedom of Religion arguments runs into two related precedents - Employment Division v. Smith, under which generally applicable, neutral on their face laws do not have to provide religious exemptions, and Prince v. Massachusetts, which in a statement that is not part of the ruling but still persuasive found that religious freedoms do not exempt parents from vaccine requirements, because “[t]he right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill health or death.”In a line of Federal Circuit courts mandates without religious exemptions were also upheld. There’s a question on how the recent religious freedom decisions by the Supreme Court will affect this jurisprudence, but that deserves a separate discussion (hint: right now, likely not at all, but it may be a warning for future).

Parental rights are not, and never have been, absolute. Even if they extend to the right not to vaccinate a child against a preventable, potentially fatal disease, they likely do not extend to a right to send that child to school unvaccinated and risk others.

I will address the right to education separately, but in short, the appellate court, following a previous federal district court decision, found that the leading case on the right to education in California – Serrano v. Priest– did not apply in this context, since it looked at a combination of the right to education and a suspect classification – wealth – and there was no such classification involved here. Even if strict scrutiny applied, the Court of Appeal said, the mandate would survive, since preventing diseases is a compelling interest and school mandates are the right means to serve it.

To repeat some of the language:

“…compulsory immunization has long been recognized as the gold standard for preventing the spread of contagious diseases. As is noted in the legislative history, studies have found that “when belief exemptions to vaccination guidelines are permitted, vaccination rates decrease,” and community immunity wanes if large numbers of children do not receive required vaccinations.”…. We agree with Whitlow’s conclusion: “The right of education, fundamental as it may be, is no more sacred than any of the other fundamental rights that have readily given way to a State’s interest in protecting the health and safety of its citizens, and particularly, school children[.]”

 

Indeed.

At least in this area, so far, the courts stand solidly behind science and the public health.

Posted by Dorit Reiss on July 3, 2018 at 09:34 AM in Constitutional thoughts, Current Affairs, Law and Politics | Permalink

Comments

If you can force people to get the AIDS vaccine because it significantly decreases the chance of getting AIDS, could you force people not to have anal sex if that significantly decreased the change of getting AIDS.

Or is the right to have anal sex more fundamental than the right not to get a vaccine?

Posted by: Was Lawrence about AIDS? | Jul 3, 2018 9:56:36 AM

A. We don't have an AIDS vaccine.
B. We don't actually usually force people in the U.S. to get vaccines. I do not know of any case of forcing adults in the past century, and it's very rare that parents are ordered to get a child vaccinated against their will, except in unusual circumstances.

I think the right to bodily autonomy would trump over forcing an adult to get any vaccine.

Posted by: Dorit Reiss | Jul 3, 2018 10:04:02 AM

"I think the right to bodily autonomy would trump over forcing an adult to get any vaccine."

Does the right of bodily autonomy not apply to teenagers? Does that mean teenagers don't have a right to have abortions?

Posted by: Autonomica | Jul 3, 2018 10:54:22 AM

"We don't actually usually force people in the U.S. to get vaccines."

Do you not think Lawrence v. Texas applies to high school students? Do you honestly think the state can jail two 17-year-olds for having gay anal sex?

Posted by: Teenagers are people under the fourteenth amendment too | Jul 3, 2018 11:03:11 AM

"We don't actually usually force people in the U.S. to get vaccines."

That's exactly what this f*cking law says is that people have to send their kids to school (required attendance) and they have to get vaccines to send their kids to school.

Posted by: Read the law | Jul 3, 2018 11:06:16 AM

"compulsory immunization has long been recognized as the gold standard for preventing the spread of contagious diseases"

No, not having anal sex is the gold standard for not spreading contagious diseases. Abstaining from anal sex increases you safety far more than getting vaccines does.

Posted by: Anal sex spreads AIDS | Jul 3, 2018 11:09:12 AM

"compulsory immunization has long been recognized as the gold standard for preventing the spread of contagious diseases"

Let's be very clear. The AIDS epidemic was not spread from a lack of vaccinations*, it was spread from anal sex (or from people who engaged in anal sex).

* "A. We don't have an AIDS vaccine."

Not having anal sex is the key to not spreading diseases.

Posted by: No AIDS vaccines | Jul 3, 2018 11:12:11 AM

Re forcing people to get an HIV vaccine, one would think that it would be pretty obvious that the state's interest in preventing exposure to diseases like measles - which is highly contagious and which an individual is essentially powerless to protect himself from contracting, short of isolating him or herself from social interaction -- is vastly greater than its interest in preventing exposure to HIV, which is communicable only through intimate contact rather than casual contact, said contact is almost always consensual, and against which an individual can protect himself or herself through the use of various prophylactic devices.

Posted by: gdanning | Jul 3, 2018 11:13:11 AM

A. Teenagers: The abortion question is a really interesting one. I think teenagers have a right to bodily autonomy, but it is more restricted than adults - and the example in the back of my mind is not abortion, but an appendicitis: I would be hesitant to say teenagers have a right equal to adult to refuse a needed appendectomy, a low risk surgery done in a situation when not doing it can be fatal. For abortion, because either choice can have a dramatic impact on the teenager's life, I think the teenager should have the autonomy to choose which consequence to have - it's not as clear cut as an appendectomy. And yes, this is a discussion that requires drawing sometimes murky lines.

B. I do not think teen agers being jailed for sex would be jailed under sodomy laws - which Lawrence v. Texas struck down - but under statutory rape laws. If you ask me about that, I don't think two teenagers should be jailed for consensual sex, period, and it doesn't matter the gender/sex/sexual orientation.

But you may have a specific case in mind I'm not familiar with - in which case, I'm happy to hear about it.

Posted by: Dorit Reiss | Jul 3, 2018 11:14:01 AM

School mandates: while school mandates certainly make parental choice harder, they are not at the same level of coercion as jailing a parent for not vaccinating or sending the police to force vaccinate.

So no, they're not force. All states have alternatives. Most states have non-medical exemptions, and in those that do not - California, Mississippi and West Virginia - homeschooling is an option. California also allows independent study through a public school as an option.

So while it can be a very, very hard choice, it's still not the same level of coercion as criminalizing non vaccinating or forcing vaccines.

Posted by: Dorit Reiss | Jul 3, 2018 11:16:10 AM

"which an individual can protect himself or herself through the use of various prophylactic devices."

So are you saying the state can force you to use condoms? Is unprotected anal sex not covered under Lawrence v. Texas? Can the state get a warrant to search your residence if they believe you are having unprotected anal sex because it is as dangerous as not getting vaccinated?

Posted by: condoms or vaccines? | Jul 3, 2018 11:17:09 AM

"I think the right to bodily autonomy would trump over forcing an adult to get any vaccine. "

I don't know when this would arise generally speaking but can see some public epidemic arising where a vaccine is required to be taken.

But, the more likely situation would be akin to the school vaccination requirements (would note that there are alternatives for some like home schooling) where an adult won't have to be vaccinated, but would be barred from various public places [or allowed to denied entry in other places] if they were not vaccinated because public health warranted it.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 3, 2018 11:18:30 AM

I agree with gdanning's distinction re HIV. I would also add, again, that school mandates for children are miles apart from forcing anything on adults, for a number of other reasons. I would add that HIV can be transmitted through any sexual intercourse, so the emphasis on anal sex - aside from the difficulty of enforcing such an intrusive law - is strange.

Posted by: Dorit Reiss | Jul 3, 2018 11:19:26 AM

Joe: It has arisen in the context of employment mandates in hospitals, which fits your examples. Here, too, I see a difference between imposing consequences, even strong ones, and forcing. It's more of a "take what you want, and pay the price" situation. When your choices force risks on others, maybe we won't force you to change them, but there can be limits intended to reduce that risk.

Posted by: Dorit Reiss | Jul 3, 2018 11:22:05 AM

"I would be hesitant to say teenagers have a right equal to adult to refuse a needed appendectomy"

so are you saying that teenagers do not have a right to physician-assisted suicide? doesn't bodily autonomy begin with the right not only to refuse life-saving surgery, but also to die with dignity?

Posted by: blogging with dignity | Jul 3, 2018 11:23:29 AM

"so the emphasis on anal sex - aside from the difficulty of enforcing such an intrusive law - is strange."

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/analsex.html

Anal sex is the highest-risk sexual behavior for HIV transmission. Vaginal sex has a lower risk, and activities like oral sex, touching, and kissing carry little to no risk for getting or transmitting HIV. The vast majority of men who get HIV get it through anal sex.

Posted by: anal sex is riskier | Jul 3, 2018 11:26:21 AM

"so are you saying that teenagers do not have a right to physician-assisted suicide? doesn't bodily autonomy begin with the right not only to refuse life-saving surgery, but also to die with dignity?"

That's another great question. I admit I have some hesitation on this issue, not because I don't think teenagers should have the right to die with dignity - I do - but because I'd be nervous about undue influence. So in this case, I would look at the details: are there enough procedures in place to protect an informed, deliberated decision, with no pressure either way? And I know that the people working on these areas - and you may know that more than I do - do take that into account, and consider procedures.

I do think that's different from a surgery needed in short term, though.

Posted by: Dorit Reiss | Jul 3, 2018 11:27:40 AM

If taking a daily vitamin could be proven to drastically improve a child's immune system, could a school require that?

Posted by: Mineral Waters | Jul 3, 2018 11:34:12 AM

If taking a daily vitamin could be proven to drastically improve a child's immune system, could a school require that?

Posted by: Mineral Waters | Jul 3, 2018 11:34:13 AM

You're clearly right that the courts stand solidly behind public health - heavily prioritising it over religious liberty in this matter. It's far less clear that they stand behind science. I would be interested to learn what you think science can teach us about the trade-off between health and freedom.

SB277 looks like a proper measure as applied to public schools. The State of California has to apply certain criteria for admission, and these seem like reasonable ones. Admitting children who are unvaccinated without good cause puts the remaining children in class at unnecessary risk - a classic externality. As you rightly state, there is no parental right to expose other children to risk of disease.

On the other hand, SB277 as written affects private schools and daycare centres, and as such is clear legislative overreach. Proprietors are more than capable of coming up with their own exclusion criteria, and indeed may compete for custom on that basis, so there is no externality here. If the New Age weirdos want to send their kids to their own private no-vaccines school, let them, and the rest of us can steer well clear.

It's worth bearing in mind that the state is not mandating vaccination, so these children are going to be disease risks anyway, in every other public place. Forcing them to be homeschooled does nothing to solve the issue, but does play havoc with their education. Punishing the children to get at the parents is not the act of a responsible government genuinely concerned about child welfare, but rather a mean-spirited lashing out, typical of a banana republic, or the State of California.

Is this unconstitutional? Not at a federal level. "STUPID BUT CONSTITUTIONAL," as the late Justice Scalia would say. But given the record of California courts in creating new rights out of whole cloth, I'm disappointed that they couldn't find something in the California constitution to strike down this foolish law. Perhaps more competent plaintiffs will have better luck.

Posted by: Salem | Jul 3, 2018 11:36:37 AM

@Salem:
A. School mandates in most states apply both to public and private schools, and in quite a few to daycares. To remind you, private schools and daycare are licensed and heavily regulated by the state - they are, in a sense, under state authority. And a disease outbreak in a private school or daycare would affect the community. The new age child can infect young patients at a doctor's office.

I don't think it's an outreach to add a health and safety regulation to the already existing regulations of such facilities.

B. Schools and daycares are areas of high transmission, and can be a focus of outbreaks. Casual contact with homeschooled children is not the same level of risk.

C. My impression is that California courts did not see the law, which makes schools safer, as foolish. Coming out of an experience with outbreaks, they likely appreciated the effort. The court decision says that pretty clearly.

Posted by: Dorit Reiss | Jul 3, 2018 11:47:13 AM

Thanks for that interesting ruling indeed . Just worth to note , that the plaintiffs have raised another argument ( falling much better than the rests ) and here I quote :

Finally, plaintiffs alleged a violation of section 24175, subdivision (a). That statute provides that no one may be subjected to a medical experiment without his or her informed consent. (§ 24175, subd. (a).) A medical experiment includes “[t]he . . . penetration . . . of tissues of a human subject . . . in the practice . . . of medicine in a manner not reasonably related to maintaining or improving the health of the subject or otherwise directly benefiting the subject.” (§ 24174, subd. (a).) Plaintiffs tell us that “all vaccines are ‘medical experiments.’ ”This claim is patently erroneous. The applicable authorities – legal and scientific – clearly show that immunization is reasonably related to maintaining the health of the subject of the immunization as well as the public health.

End of quotation :

But they could claim , that , as accepted by the court , vaccination , has proven side effects , or other collateral damages .In this regard , it is rather experimental one may argue . This is because , one can't predict , who and how is going to benefit from it , and who is not . Such argument could be further elaborated, as contradicting the idea that such vaccination , meant from the individual point of view , for treatment or maintenance and so forth ….

In sum , they needed much more than that in order to succeed. One could think of many arguments . The strategic underlining rejection , is in fact , the fact ,that the benefits of vaccination , are well recognized by the scientific community ( common knowledge , and judicial knowledge in fact ) yet :

Many were such , revealed to be complete nonsense . For instance , homosexuality , once , medically classified as a mental disease , and now , is no longer accepted as such .

Thanks

Posted by: El roam | Jul 3, 2018 12:43:49 PM

El Roam--

Just because something isn't always effective for everyone, or has side effects, doesn't mean it's an experiment.

If that were the case, democracy would be considered an experiment since American democracy doesn't always lead to the court upholding the bill of rights and American democracy has strange unexpected side effects in Vietnam and Iraq.

Posted by: experiment in the state | Jul 3, 2018 12:58:16 PM

@El roam:
The fact that a product has side effects (in the case of vaccination, very rare serious ones) does not make it experimental, or else any product would be experimental. That is not what "experimental" means. That claim was simply ill founded.

While it is true we do not know who will be the rare case harmed by a vaccine, we also do not know who would be the one killed or disabled by a preventable disease - we do know that's much more common.

And yes, the ruling did draw on the decades of research comprising tens of thousands of studies in millions of people that shows that vaccines risks are small, and much smaller than their benefits. Very few things have the same level of data behind them, and the view of homosexuality as a mental disorder did not.

Posted by: Dorit Reiss | Jul 3, 2018 12:58:22 PM

Dorit ,

Thanks for your comment .I have emphasized , that it is (potentially so at least ) an experiment , from the individual point of view ( emphasizing : individual ) not that the overhaul damage , exceeds the benefit . Surly , in light of the poor argumentation presented by plaintiffs , that one , is far greater more solid one .

I couldn’t just understand your argument concerning homosexuality . It was clearly classified as a mental disease . Finally revealed to be complete nonsense . So , this is a very good subjective argument , that could be raised by plaintiffs . The amount of underlying data , doesn't change much .For , has been accepted , as scientific assertion over long period , and it is no more so ( in understatement of course ) .

Thanks

Posted by: El roam | Jul 3, 2018 1:13:24 PM

"imposing consequences, even strong ones, and forcing"

Yes. At some point, the line is smaller though.

Cute names in the name line [he's being sarcastic] tend to red flag not great comments.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 3, 2018 1:15:06 PM

experiment in the state ,

This is a legal argument , not general or philosophical one . That is to say , that the issue , is whether the assertion , is contradicting the legal definition or not . Now read again the legal definition , and clarify it to your self . For it is stated there , that " No one " it means that it is related or implied upon individuals , not population . And the informed consent stipulated , is concerning the individual personally ( as well the risks ) not democracy or whatsoever. So , could be clearly raised and elaborated by plaintiffs , surly in light of such poor argumentation raised by them .

Thanks

Posted by: El roam | Jul 3, 2018 1:22:52 PM

"I think the right to bodily autonomy would trump over forcing an adult to get any vaccine."

(a) Why do children have any less interest in their bodily integrity than adults do? If anything, the criminal law (such as abuse) would suggest that due to their vulnerability children have a heightened interest in their bodily integrity compared to adults.

(b) second, even assuming that children qua children do have a lesser interest in bodily integrity than adults why would a parent, operating as the child's guardian, not be able to rebut that presumption?

Posted by: James | Jul 3, 2018 1:32:18 PM

@James:
A. The question was autonomy, not integrity, and children do have less autonomy than adults here. Children do not make their own medical decision.
If we are talking about bodily integrity, the view that vaccines violate a child's bodily integrity more than a potentially fatal disease is not very convincing.

B. A parent can still, in most circumstances, decide whether to not to vaccinate and protect the child from disease. But parental rights are not absolute, and in some circumstances states have - and in fact should - interfere in parental decisions about children. Your example of child abuse is one, but there have been other examples, for example, courts have ordered surgery or chemotherapy over parental objections.

I do not think it is appropriate to override parental will directly in relation to routine vaccination in most circumstances, simply because as long as vaccine rates are high enough, the risk is not imminent, and there are costs to directly stepping into the family. But in high-risk situations the state can step in and require a child be vaccinated. For example, a child bitten by an unfamiliar dog or bat, and a parent seeking to refuse rabies (and potentially tetanus) vaccines.

Posted by: Dorit Reiss | Jul 3, 2018 1:42:26 PM

@Dorit

(1) "and children do have less autonomy than adults here"

Yes they do but the curious question is why? Isn't the reason why children have less legal autonomy than adults simply a reflection that children are more like property than a human person? We don't allow cows, or trees, or other things which we consider property to make decisions on their own so children are at least similar to property in that respect. We also criminalize the illegal taking of property (burglary) just like we do with children (kidnapping). So children are similar to property in that respect too, rather than being human.

"Your example of child abuse is one, but there have been other examples, for example, courts have ordered surgery or chemotherapy over parental objections."

Yes but this isn't a reflection of a debate over whether the child is property or not...it is simply a disagreement over who own the child as property. Is the child the property of their parents or of the community at large? The courts have said that in some cases the child belongs to the parent and in other cases to the community. I would argue, however, that courts are all over the map in terms of their reasoning as to how and where this line is drawn and there is no coherent body of law that can explain how the child as property gets divided up between two masters.

Posted by: James | Jul 3, 2018 2:27:39 PM

Just correction to my comment above :

Should be : underlying and not : " underlining " of course .

Thanks

Posted by: El roam | Jul 3, 2018 2:37:04 PM

DR: One clause in this post annoyed me: "represented by a lawyer who was openly anti-vaccine." Why should we care about the lawyer's beliefs? Are the legal claims less valid because the attorney promoting them believes in them? Are lawsuits brought by Lambda Legal suspect because they are openly pro LGBT?

On a more substantive note, lumping all vaccines together is inherently anti-science and pro-dogma. Vaccines and diseases differ in many ways. For example, some protect against diseases with common serious effects (such as polio), while some are only very, very rarely serious (like chicken pox). Some are very effective, while some vaccines are not very effective (for example, the flu vaccine). Some diseases are easily spread (like mumps), while some are not easily spread, assuming children are not engaging in sexual activity in school (like hep b and HPV). To simply say vaccines are good and important is just as simple minded as saying vaccines are pointless. Some are more important than others.

Posted by: Biff | Jul 3, 2018 2:45:15 PM

Just directing to some reading , concerning homosexuality at the time , and today . Of course , this is only one illustration , we could mention here ,many others . So , caution is warranted in such domains , here :

http://behaviorismandmentalhealth.com/2011/10/08/homosexuality-the-mental-illness-that-went-away/

Thanks

Posted by: El roam | Jul 3, 2018 3:13:52 PM

@James:
While Samantha Godwin, in a wonderful article on children's rights, pointed out that our view of them is close to property, I do not think anyone sees children as property per se today. The reason children have less autonomy is because they are considered to have less capacity - because of their development - in making these decisions. The question is not who owned them, but who can be trusted to act as their agent. Who has the responsibility for their welfare - and the general attitude is parents first, but sometimes the state.

Rights come with responsibility. If we gave children full autonomy, we would hold them responsible for these choices, acknowledge their responsibility for the consequences, and we do not place the same responsibilities on a child as on an adult.

Posted by: Dorit Reiss | Jul 3, 2018 4:00:01 PM

@Biff:
I agree I could have dropped that line about the lawyer. It's simply a distinction between the lawsuits, from my point of view: some went out of their way to claim they are not anti-vaccine, and this one openly claimed otherwise - in fact, a large part of the discussion in the lawsuit is attacking the safety of vaccines. That descriptive point was not, however, strictly relevant to my discussion and could have been dropped. I accept your comment, I probably shouldn't have mentioned that.

You're also right that not all vaccines are similar - and you captured differences very well. That said, my statement that vaccines risks are small and their benefits large is true for the vaccines on the recommended schedule, as well as the narrower subset of vaccines required for school in California. The criteria for recommending a vaccine include a risk/benefit balance as well as cost effectiveness - not all vaccines are routinely recommended. So in this narrow context, for the recommended vaccines, I stand by my statement.

Posted by: Dorit Reiss | Jul 3, 2018 4:04:18 PM

Great first post, looking forward to reading more.

Posted by: Jr | Jul 3, 2018 4:08:36 PM

"The question is not who owned them, but who can be trusted to act as their agent."

In this context the distinction between "owner" and "agent" is semantics. An "owner" might imply something more than than an "agent" in an abstract sense but the control they exercise is the same from the child's point of view. If a child is forced to get vaccinated against the child's own wishes does it really matter to the child whether the state claims that the force it is exercising is based on an ownership or an agency relationship? I think not.

When this is recognized as true we can see what an empty statement this is: "The reason children have less autonomy is because they are considered to have less capacity - because of their development - in making these decisions."

The problem is that the court in Brown vs Smith does not basis its decision on developmental realities or maturity. Those words and concepts do not even appear in its decision. For good reason, the CA law at issue doesn't turn on the age of the child. It treats the capacity of a pre-schooler exactly the same as that of an 17 year old. The law doesn't recognize any developmental realties.

So one cannot say with a sincere face that the /law/ does not treat children as property. Indeed, by treating all "school aged" children the same it is denying said children legal recognition of the very developmental reality that helps to distinguish humans from property.



Posted by: James | Jul 3, 2018 5:21:21 PM

@James:
The distinction matters. You don't have to act for the benefit of property; a parent does has to act for the child's benefit, and children have rights that property does not have.

The decision to vaccinate a child is a decision to protect the child from disease. An additional benefit is herd immunity, but in the rare cases vaccinating is ordered over parental objection it is to protect the child. And I am not sure you are right in your claim about treating children the same for forced vaccination: I expect that a court order requiring vaccinating a 17 year old - something done in unusual circumstances - would consider the teen's wishes. Some states have laws allowing teens to consent to vaccines over parental opposition in some circumstances.

Brown v. Smith did not consider forcing vaccines on a child, though. It did not address maturity because it was not trying to decide whether to force a child to be vaccinated over her will or over parental opposition - it was examining whether it's constitutional to require vaccines for children in order for them to attend the shared school environment. A different and separate question, handled differently by the courts. A school mandate certainly does not make children the property of the state (or their parents' property).

Posted by: Dorit Reiss | Jul 3, 2018 5:27:43 PM

@Dorit:
So because the State of California has already put a lot of regulations on private schools, one more couldn't hurt? What kind of argument is that? This law must be assessed on its own merits.

The problem is that this law is both wildly under- and over-inclusive. It isn't targeted at non-casual contact; what about playgrounds, swimming pools, sports teams - indeed, what about siblings? It's just targeted at schools and daycares. Your "health and safety" justification does nothing to support this law - if I have the right not to vaccinate my child for arbitrary reasons, then I surely have the right to educate him together with other, similarly situated children.

Your whole position really relies on the idea that I don't really have the right not to vaccinate my child. And I would agree with that, more honest position. If necessary, the State of California should mandate vaccination, except in cases of genuine medical issue. But because legislators do not want to grasp that nettle, they instead pass this cowardly and barbaric law, punishing the children for the sins of their parents.

Posted by: Salem | Jul 4, 2018 6:06:09 AM

@Salem

Yes, that is close to my thinking as well. I fully support the mandatory vaccination of all children. What I cannot stand is the shameful claim that we are doing it "for the children". As the CA bill makes very clear the actual desires of the children matter not one whit to the Legislature nor, as Brown makes clear, to the Judiciary.

We adults vaccinate children for the same reason we adults educate them: because we can. It is an exercise of power of the stronger over the weaker. That is /all/ it is.

Posted by: james | Jul 4, 2018 1:57:04 PM

"We don't have an AIDS vaccine."

You're a liar!

https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/06/health/hiv-vaccine-study-intl/index.html

Posted by: HIV vaccine is real and will be mandatory | Jul 7, 2018 9:19:50 AM

There have been many efforts to create a successful HIV vaccine, and this is another one. This shows promise in preliminary studies - so have others that later failed. As your own article points out, this is a long way from being an HIV vaccine, and we don't know if it will. Having a successful HIV vaccine would be a great medical advance - but it's not here, and it may never be.

If it's license, the next question would be whether and who to recommend it too. And that, too, is unknown. Only after recommendation will the question of mandates arise - and it's almost certainly not going to be universally mandated for adults, because we don't have any universal adult mandates. ]

So no. We don't have an AIDS vaccine. We can hope to have one one day, but we don't now.

Posted by: Dorit Reiss | Jul 7, 2018 1:03:35 PM

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