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Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2018 Jul 3;14(7):1610-1617. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2018.1423929. Epub 2018 Feb 15.

Legal approaches to promoting parental compliance with childhood immunization recommendations.

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a UC Hastings College of Law , San Francisco , CA , USA.


Rates of vaccine-preventable diseases have increased in the United States in recent years, largely due to parental refusals of recommended childhood immunizations. Empirical studies have demonstrated a relationship between nonvaccination rates and permissive state vaccine exemption policies, indicating that legal reforms may promote higher immunization rates. This article reviews relevant data and considers the legal landscape. It analyzes federal and state Constitutional law, concluding that religious and personal belief exemptions to school-entry vaccine mandates are not constitutionally required. It identifies public health, bioethical, and policy considerations relevant to the choice among legal approaches employed by states to promote parental compliance. The article describes a range of legal tools that may help promote parental cooperation with immunization recommendations.


childhood immunizations; constitutional law; legal policies; vaccination requirements; vaccine exemption policies

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