✌🏼out to my third semester of medical school & the 2019 Congressional session.
Not to worry, both will be back in full force in January!
Before I head for my vacation in the Conch Republic, I want to drop a basic civics lesson.
The basic of all basics – Congress refers to our bicameral (two chamber) legislature, made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. It is one of three branches of government. It writes the laws and controls the money.
Quick note: I’m not here to debate vaccines — I am a medical student and public health practitioner and I have read a good deal of scientific evidence on this topic. I firmly believe in the safety, efficacy, and public good of vaccination. My goal with this post is to provide you with some of the legal fundamentals that influence vaccination and the impact of pockets of low immunity on individual and public health.
It’s Wednesday and I’m one day closer to my cardio midterm and to my family visiting for my medical school pinning ceremony next week! For those wondering what a pinning ceremony is, it’s my medical schools’ alternative to a white coat ceremony, which are usually held at medical schools in the fall. I’ll report back after mine, but I assume it will be similar to all the others that occurred around the country back in August– a formal ceremony to officially “coat” us with the white coat we wear for clinical experiences.
Before I dive in to a full day in the library, I wanted to spend a little time on the current measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest. As medical students, we learn how vaccines work and the recommended vaccine schedules for different populations but it’s also important to know the legal and public health issues that influence why state laws vary regarding compulsory vaccination. Let’s use the current measles outbreak as our springboard into this issue.
I’ve probably seen every episode of Law & Order: SVU at least twice. Those marathons on USA draw me in every time. Police procedurals on television have familiarized a generation to the reading of Miranda Rights, but did you know there’s another type of police power? Let’s pull out our handy dandy pocket U.S. Constitution and take a look at the 10th Amendment. [You think I’m kidding? I’m not, I actually have a well-worn copy that I purchased at the National Archives as an incredibly nerdy 16 year old.]
The 10th Amendment defines the division of authority between the federal government and state governments: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”