Are Mandatory Vaccinations Constitutional?

Silverton, Colorado - County Court House

Are Mandatory Vaccinations Constitutional?

Recently, my Inns of Court group gave a presentation on the law of Quarantine. Through vignettes set on a BART train, we explored how the ancient law of quarantine is applied to our modern society. We touched on the world history of quarantine, bringing it to our present day and community. The players were Judge Joyce Cram, Ret., Commissioner Don Green, Ret., Nancy Allard, Wally Hesseltine, Kristen Howe, Rodney Marraccini, Lisa Mendes, Jennifer Sommer and myself.

Here is a sample of the interesting information we studied. For an automatic reminder of the next question and answer please subscribe to my blog on my Home Page. See “Receive Free Tips & Updates” in the lower right-hand corner.

Are Mandatory Vaccinations Constitutional?

Jacobson v. Massachusetts 197 U.S. 11 (1905)
• Upheld the right of states to compel vaccinations
Maricopa County Health Department v. Harmon 156 Ariz. 161 (1987)
• Held it was prudent to take action to combat disease by excluding unvaccinated children from school when there is a reasonably perceived, but unconfirmed, risk for the spread of measles.
• Epidemic conditions NOT necessary to compel vaccination
Prince v. Massachusetts 321 U.S. 158 (1944)
• Doctrine of parens patriae gives state authority over child welfare

Short answer: Yes it is generally constitutional to mandate vaccinations.

Ken Strongman, MediatorAbout the Author: Ken Strongman ( has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

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