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Jacobson v. Massachusetts


The Jacobson decision is rich in law. It has been used in many subsequent Supreme Court decisions to support rulings on a wide range of issues, including the scope and limits of police power, the right of privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment, and the power of the judiciary to review legislative action. In Zucht v. King, (1922), the Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to an ordinance requiring vaccination for public school admittance on the ground that Jacobson had conclusively decided the issue.

In 1980, the World Health Organization declared smallpox extinct, attributing the extinction to worldwide efforts and the promotion of vaccination. Today, because state laws have for years required all children to be immunized before attending school, few adults are unvaccinated. However, some people, including physicians, still believe that vaccinations are not always effective and may produce adverse side effects or consequences. As a result, compulsory vaccination or immunization is still not free of controversy. As a result, some states allow medical, religious, and even philosophical exemptions from immunizations. In 1986, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act to provide compensation for vaccine-related injuries and deaths.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1883 to 1917Jacobson v. Massachusetts - Significance, Compulsory Vaccination Lawful, Court Defers To Legislature, Exemption For Unfit Adult?, Impact