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April 6, 1907


JAMA. 1907;XLVIII(14):1187. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02520400039006

The efforts recently made in Pennsylvania and Connecticut to secure the repeal of statutes making the vaccination of children a condition of their right to attend public schools recalls the unreasonable prejudice that still exists against this beneficent prophylactic.

The opposition to vaccination appears to rest on the fundamental declarations that it is useless and dangerous, and that its compulsory enforcement is an invasion of individual rights. With the evidence now available it would seem that its utility must be conceded, for if there is one measure in preventive medicine that has been demonstrated beyond question it is that vaccination, properly performed, affords protection against smallpox. Individual license to do as one pleases is not an inalienable right, and community life denies the individual that privilege, especially if in so doing he becomes a menace to the public health. By a uniform course of decisions the courts have upheld the