States Have Every Right to Forcibly Administer Vaccines to Public, Alan Dershowitz Says

Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard Law School emeritus professor, said in a recent interview that state governments have every right to forcibly administer vaccinations amid the coronavirus fight, even if it means forcibly plunging a “needle into your arm.”

“Let me put it very clearly, you have no constitutional right to endanger the public and spread the disease, even if you disagree,” he told Jason Goodman, the host of “Crowdsource the Truth.” “You have no right not to be vaccinated; you have no right not to wear a mask; you have no right to open up your business.”

Dershowitz, the famed liberal who won some favor in conservative circles after his defense of President Trump during the impeachment trial, explained that individuals have the right to refuse vaccinations if they’re not contagious.

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“If you refuse to be vaccinated [for a disease that is contagious], the state has the power to literally take you to a doctor’s office and plunge a needle into your arm,” he said.

There is no current vaccine for the coronavirus and health officials seem to agree that we could be a long time from one. Moderna, the Massachusetts biotechnology company, reportedly announced positive results in early trials. The Washington Post reported that there are eight vaccines that have begun human testing.

Besides the obvious challenges in creating the vaccine, these companies are also trying to determine the best way to produce any effective one on a global scale.


There is no indication that a vaccine would be mandatory, and skeptics may watch how state governments administer coronavirus tests. There are surpluses in some cities and governors—like New York’s Andrew Cuomo—have been urging residents to be tested. The theory is that one of the reasons the tests aren’t all being used is because there so many asymptomatic carries who don’t feel the need to be tested. If states begin to require testing for everyone who leaves their homes, perhaps new concerns would be raised about the concept of a mandatory vaccination down the road.


Dershowitz said a mandatory vaccination is one of the prices you pay for living in a democracy.

“If the majority of the people agree and support that, for public health measures, you have to be vaccinated, you have to be vaccinated. They should give you an alternative. The alternative is to live in your home, don’t get vaccinated, but never ever leave your home or live in a bubble. But if you want to interact with other people, you cannot become Typhoid Mary. The Constitution doesn’t give you the right to spread your illness to other people.”

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