Virginia health commissioner plans to make COVID vaccine mandatory upon its release

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As the debate on the severity of COVID-19 rages on, including whether masks prove effective or not, an even more contentious issue is rapidly approaching: Vaccines.

According to new reports, Virginia Commissioner of Health Dr. Norman Oliver has stated that upon its release, he would mandate the vaccine for all residents in the state.

The discussion of such a mandate has many Americans —not just the non-vaxxers— extremely concerned about civil liberties as the idea of making the vaccine mandatory for travel, schools, and the like has now been floated in several medical and political circles.

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As it pertains to Virginia, Dr. Norman specifically said the following:

“It [the coronavirus] is killing people now, we don’t have a treatment for it and if we develop a vaccine that can prevent it from spreading in the community we will save hundreds and hundreds of lives.”

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According to a local network in Virginia, state law gives the commissioner of health the authority to mandate immunizations during a public health crisis should a vaccine be available.

While a great number of citizens (in any state) would likely be on board —for their own protection— to take such a vaccine, national polls indicate just over 40% said they would be interested in taking it once it hits the market.

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Still, what if governments —local, state or federal— mandate the vaccine? Can they do it and what is the punishment for those who do not comply? As you heard in the video above, it might just be legal to mandate it.

An old Supreme Court case from 1905 may set the precedent, at least for local governments, to put a mandatory vaccination in place.

On a national level, famed legal professor Alan Dershowitz provided the following commentary on the legality of a national mandate during a discussion earlier this year.

“Let me put it very clearly: you have no constitutional right to endanger the public and spread the disease, even if you disagree. You have no right not to be vaccinated… And if you refuse to be vaccinated, the state has the power to literally take you to a doctor’s office and plunge a needle into your arm.

“That’s what a democracy is about. If the majority of the people agree and support that, for public health measures, you have to be vaccinated, you have to be vaccinated.”

He continued, “they should give you an alternative. The alternative is to live in your home, don’t get vaccinated, but never ever leave your home or live in a bubble. But if you want to interact with other people, you cannot become Typhoid Mary. The Constitution doesn’t give you the right to spread your illness to other people.”

As the debate rages on, and despite efforts by medical companies, a vaccine is not yet available, thus pushing the conversation off into the not-so-distant future. Dr. Anthony Fauci believes that a vaccine could be available in the early parts of 2021—only time will tell.

In the meantime, determine your position on the vaccine (if you haven’t already) and study your rights. This conversation is going to divide the country as much or more than any issue we are facing right now—things aren’t exactly unified in 2020.

This piece was written by Drew Berquist on August 22, 2020. It originally appeared in DrewBerquist.com and is used by permission.

The opinions expressed by contributors and/or content partners are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of LifeZette.

meet the author

Drew Berquist is a former counterterrorism officer, national security commentator, author, realist and host of This Is My Show with Drew Berquist.

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