Friday, September 04, 2009

Mandatory Vaccination in Massachusetts? Connect the Dots

Many citizens are rightly worried about S2028, the "pandemic disaster preparation" bill. We also need to be worried about the vaccination law now on the books in Massachusetts:
Boards of health, if in their opinion it is necessary for public health or safety, shall require and enforce the vaccination and revaccination of all the inhabitants of their towns, and shall provide them with the means of free vaccination. Whoever refuses or neglects to comply with such requirement shall forfeit five dollars.
Vaccination for what is unspecified. Granted, the fine is only five dollars, but the mandate is disturbing.
Pending bill S2028 would actually remove the "require and enforce" language, but mandate isolation or quarantine for a refuser: 
An individual who is unable or unwilling to submit to vaccination or treatment shall not be required to submit to such procedures but may be isolated or quarantined... (Line 409)
But nothing in S2028 specifically overturns Ch. 111, sec. 181. Where does that leave us?
Further, Ch. 111, Section 6 gives total authority to the Commissioner of Public Health to determine what disease is "deemed dangerous to public health" and thus warranting vaccination. 
MGL, Ch. 111, Section 6
The department shall have the power to define, and shall from time to time define, what diseases shall be deemed to be dangerous to the public health, and shall make such rules and regulations consistent with law for the control and prevention of such diseases as it deems advisable for the protection of the public health....