Republican lawmakers have continued to embrace skepticism regarding the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, which have proven safe and effective at minimizing the spread and severity of the virus that's killed over 800 thousand Americans.
A key criticism has been against vaccine mandates, which Republicans have near-unanimously decried as a federal encroachment on individual rights or an insidious exercise in state control. This is despite mandatory vaccinations existing in some form in the United States for more than a century. As a general, George Washington required his troops be vaccinated against smallpox. Every U.S. state still requires vaccinations against polio for students—part of a wide array of mandatory vaccinations.
Nevertheless, Republican Senator Ted Cruz railed against mandatory vaccines for students in a recent tweet.
COVID mandates are wrong.
Schools have no right to FORCE you to get your 5-year old vaccinated.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 8, 2022
Cruz asserted that schools "have no right to FORCE you to get your 5-year-old vaccinated," but a 1905 Supreme Court ruling heavily disagreed.
In Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the Supreme Court decided that state governments could enforce laws to protect public health, even at the expense of certain individual rights. The Court ruled that smallpox vaccine mandates in schools—and criminal fines for those not in compliance—were constitutional. That ruling has repeatedly been upheld in the decades since it was handed down.
Cruz,—a former Supreme Court clerk, solicitor general, and onetime contender for a seat on the Supreme Court itself—almost certainly knows this.
But just in case, people didn't hesitate to correct him.
Vaccines *already* required for kids 0-6 years old to attend school:
•Hepatitis A & B
Cruz’s performative outrage will cost lives. Unacceptable.
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) January 8, 2022
Except they do and they can and have done for decades. So. Stop gaslighting the nation. https://t.co/gZjfIRYomA
— Leah Torres, MD (@LeahNTorres) January 8, 2022
This is performative dishonesty.
Cruz has kids and he knows perfectly well they had to get vaccinated (for Tdap, MMR, Hep B, etc) in order to attend school *in Texas*:https://t.co/EIoZiTb6hF https://t.co/cFpvqSFwwi
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) January 9, 2022
My son got a long list of government-required vaccinations before he was five. https://t.co/wwCZlnSp1G
— Triple Vaxxed Jacob Perry (@RealJacobPerry) January 9, 2022
……vaccines are already required before children go to school…your argument is invalid https://t.co/XlNFDDgSI2
— love, ben solo (@bensolosmiles) January 9, 2022
I’ve got thousands of school physical forms I’ve filled out in the last 19 years that say otherwise. https://t.co/u6VWdxtZO4
— Mara Maas, MD (@MaraMaas) January 9, 2022
The claim received widespread backlash.
We live in a world in which multiple dread, life-altering diseases have been virtually eliminated by vaccines.
Conservatives used to celebrate this, and mock vaccinoids on the Left for their pseudoscientific ignorance
Now, to survive in today’s @GOP, vaccinoia is mandatory. https://t.co/daL5Ivhtto
— Haiku Jonah (@HaikuJonah) January 9, 2022
Polio outbreaks to own the libs https://t.co/vplYZyh69P
— Dr. Sarah Parcak (@indyfromspace) January 9, 2022
Question for Republicans in Congress pandering to their anti-vax base:
Is a child's life worth a vote? Yay or Nay? https://t.co/Zq3mhEiZ5B
— Shelby Kent-Stewart ™ (@ShelbyKStewart) January 9, 2022
Cruz is currently promising a bill that would throw out the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for D.C. schools.