Saint Louis University Journal of Health Law & Policy

Document Type

Student Comment


After recent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease across the United States, some states have responded by removing non-medical exemptions. State legislatures that remove non-medical exemptions do so with the hope of increasing vaccination rates. However, there are serious concerns about this knee-jerk legislative reaction. Removing non-medical exemptions can lead to anti-vaccination sentiment and interference with parental autonomy.

This article argues that instead of removing non-medical exemptions, states should implement evidence-based public health solutions in order to increase vaccination rates. One example of an evidence-based solution is the Community Guide, a resource that contains reviews by a Task Force on a wide array of health interventions. Policymakers should consult these health interventions in order to understand what programs have been scientifically proven to be effective. In order to successfully implement health interventions, policymakers should follow the framework suggested in this article. First, it is important to determine the target population. The two target populations explored include clustered and low-income communities, as they are the most common to have lower vaccination rates. The type of intervention policymakers choose to implement will take into consideration the resources available and the characteristics of the target population. The article focuses on three Task Force recommendations: vaccination programs, client reminder and recall systems, and client or family incentive rewards. Each implementation is analyzed as applied to the two target populations to demonstrate these implementations are more effective than legislative action.