Indiana News

Can State Force Flu Shots On People?

1/8/2013

An Indiana law professor says as a constitutional matter, nothing prevents the state from passing legislation that would require people to get flu shots.

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Dr. John Hill teaches law at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Hill says public and private employers can indeed require vaccinations as a matter of public concern and health. Hill says for that reason, the move would stand up to challenges of constitutionality.

Hill says the move would be similar to helmet laws and particularly smoking bans imposed across the nation that have consistently stood up in court as public health matters. Hill says there are cases that date back 100 years that deal with innoculations and uphold the power of the state to require them as a public health matter.

Hill says the bigger question is whether society wants to take on the question as an issue of public policy given the guarantee and practice of freedom. Hill says there's no constitutional issue at all for private employers. He adds that making the move conditional upon continued employment is an entirely different matter. Hill says if a law were passed, it would probably have to based on the effects to third parties to standup to challenges of constitutionality.

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