Can A School District Makes a Vaccine Mandatory?

The vaccine debate might be loud and busy on the Internet, but it is relatively quiet in the public school system. In all 50 states, children must be fully vaccinated against certain diseases in order to attend public school. That policy, however, is semi-permeable, both in the lack of scrutiny of medical records and in the generous loophole provided by certain exemptions.

In Florida, parents are permitted exemption from vaccinations on both religious and medical grounds. Some states allow exemption on philosophical grounds as well, though not Florida.

All 50 states require children to be vaccinated against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. In Pennsylvania, the Allegheny County school district is now attempting to introduce legislation that would add HPV (Human Papillomavirus) to this list. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that is asymptomatic and is the leading cause of cervical cancer in the US. The district would require all boys and girls to receive the HPV vaccine before they would be allowed to enter seventh grade.

The HPV vaccine is not without controversy. Of the two vaccines on the market, Gardasil and Cervarix, Gardasil is both the more effective of the two and the more commonly associated with side effects. Among the common side effects are:

  • Fever
  • Local pain
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Paralysis
  • Blot clots

In some cases, parents have reported significant changes in the health and overall functioning of their daughters after receiving the Gardasil vaccine. There have been over 8,000 complaints registered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and numerous wrongful death and class action lawsuits against the manufacturer of the vaccine, Merck & Co.

That said, it is clear that the introduction of the vaccine has greatly reduced the spread of HPV, and that has subsequently reduced the rate of cervical cancer. That is not to say that it is legal, moral or right to mandate the administration of a potentially dangerous drug to children so they can attend school.

You have a right to monetary compensation if you are harmed by a dangerous device or drug. Contact an attorney at the West Palm Beach Law Office of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivy & Fronrath by calling 561-655-1990 or contact us online. We look forward to speaking to you about your case.