Osborn Maledon attorney co-authors examination of the legal and medical history of U.S. vaccine mandates

September 12, 2022

Eric M. Fraser, a partner at Osborn Maledon, P.A., along with Dr. Michael J. Neuss, a respected health care provider and academic, co-authored “Who Calls the Shots? A Legal and Historical Perspective on Vaccine Mandates” for “CHEST Journal,” a prominent international peer-reviewed medical journal. It is unusual for the journal to accept articles from legal authors.

Their article suggests that “a single, uniform vaccination requirement covering everyone is unlikely” because the legal technicalities are complex.

Fraser specializes in appeals and is known for his work on high-profile and precedent-setting legal cases. Neuss is a hospitalist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Vaccination mandates have proved to be controversial, with dozens of lawsuits challenging the mandates across the country,” the article notes, adding that the issue in court “is not whether the government may impose vaccination mandates, but rather which government actors have the power to enact which mandates.”

The kind of opposition the country experienced regarding COVID mandates is not a new phenomenon, the authors suggest: “The histories of smallpox eradication and anti-tobacco campaigns share important similarities with the current moment.”

More than a century of litigation and judicial decisions show that federal and state agencies may impose mandates but only if they have legislative authorization and that such mandates typically have limited scopes, according to Fraser and Neuss.

“In the long term, there may be a need to reassess our systems of public health to consider a more nationalized response to pandemic.  For the time being, the country’s current patchwork approach to mandates reflects a reality of government and legal precedence in the United States that makes a nationwide response difficult,” the article concludes.