Vaccination and Quarantine

Various jurisdictions in a number of States have begun barring unvaccinated students from schools following an outbreak of a contagious disease, particularly measles and chicken pox (so far).

Some school districts in the US are booting unvaccinated students from campuses where infectious-disease cases have been confirmed, as the spread of measles accelerates in some states.

“Quarantining” on the basis of vaccination status (not the classic quarantine, which blocks departure from a specific location, but one that prevents entry into specific locations) is hitting the courts, too.

In Kentucky, 32 cases of chickenpox at Our Lady of the Assumption Church and Academy in Walton resulted in unvaccinated students being removed from school in March for three weeks, the time it would take for symptoms to appear. An 18-year-old unvaccinated student lost a lawsuit challenging the ban on religious beliefs.

The court ruled entirely correctly on that suit.  A family is entirely within its rights to decline vaccination on religious grounds.  However, that right does not extend to exposing others to the outcome of that non-vaccination; that family may not expose others’ children to the disease targeted by the vaccination.

Nor do such families have any right to expose other families’ pocketbooks to the costs of outcomes from non-vaccination.  Families exercising their right to not vaccinate cannot, legitimately, inflict the costs of treatment on other families, whether those other children have been vaccinated or not.

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