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2019 saw an unusually high number of measles cases, and other preventable disease outbreaks, at least in part linked to vaccines refusal. States are considering legislative responses. This Essay examines what role the federal government can fill in increasing vaccines rates. The Essay suggests that the federal government has an important role to fill in funding research, coordination, and local efforts. It also suggests that a federal school vaccine mandate is likely not the solution: first, such mandates can run into plausible constitutional challenges, and second, there are policy arguments against it. The policy contentions include the unfairness of imposing a mandate before solving access problems throughout the country, the risk of a federal mandate that is weaker or stronger than the state requirement, and the risk that a conditional mandate will lead to states losing funding needed to prevent outbreak, ending with the ironic result of more outbreaks as a result of such a law.

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Notre Dame Law Review Online