The New England Journal of Medicine suggests a framework for mandatory vaccinations for the coronavirus.
The report titled, “Ensuring Uptake of Vaccines Against SARS-COV-2” says, “Mandatory vaccination has proven effective in ensuring high childhood immunization rates in many high-income countries.”
The paper was sure to note that the vaccine remains months to years away but wants states to put legislation together to compliment this/or another type of framework to “ensure uptake” of the vaccine.
The initial part of the framework is the creation of an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. That committee will decide if a state (like Virginia for example) has “adequately contained” the coronavirus. If the committee (government) decides a state isn’t doing a good job then the committee would step in and mandate vaccines.
The report indicates that mandatory vaccination is not everyone in the entire state but for the individuals the committee (government) feels should receive it.
The reports states:
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), after reviewing the safety and efficacy evidence, has recommended vaccination for the persons who would be covered by a mandate. Currently, available evidence suggests that the elderly, health professionals working in high-risk situations or working with high-risk patients (e.g., nursing home residents and patients with severe respiratory symptoms), and persons with certain underlying medical conditions may be high-priority groups for the ACIP’s consideration, along with other workers with frequent, close, on-the-job contacts and persons living in high-density settings such as prisons and dormitories. When a vaccine nears approval, the ACIP should review the updated evidence and develop recommendations. Only recommended groups should be considered for a vaccination mandate, though health officials can encourage voluntary uptake for others, using means such as public education campaigns and free vaccination.
The report admits vaccine mandate would be difficult because of the Constitution and that states would need to craft their legislation to force the vaccinations.
In other words, states will need to figure out how they can get around the Constitution just like they did for the stay at home orders.
Another recommendation is that the federal government require high-risk groups like active-duty military, Veterans Affairs facilities, federal prisons, and detention center workers to all be vaccinated.
The report also states that if a person is mandated to get the vaccine and decline they should receive a penalty (we put the below words in “bold” for emphasis):
In addition, state mandates should not be structured as compulsory vaccination (absolute requirements); instead, noncompliance should incur a penalty. Nevertheless, because of the infectiousness and dangerousness of the virus, relatively substantive penalties could be justified, including employment suspension or stay-at-home orders for persons in designated high-priority groups who refuse vaccination. Neither fines nor criminal penalties should be used, however; fines disadvantage the poor, and criminal penalties invite legal challenges on procedural due-process grounds. Both are bad public health policy for a Covid-19 vaccine because they may stoke distrust without improving uptake.
Should Joe Biden be elected in November and when a vaccine is available I am worried about what might be the result.
The New England Journal of Medicine