A Defense of Compulsory Vaccination
Leadership Studies, and Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law, University of Richmond, 28 Westhampton Way, Richmond, VA, 23173, USA, . HEC Forum
08/2013; 26(1). DOI: 10.1007/s10730-013-9221-5
Vaccine refusal harms and risks harming innocent bystanders. People are not entitled to harm innocents or to impose deadly risks on others, so in these cases there is nothing to be said for the right to refuse vaccination. Compulsory vaccination is therefore justified because non-vaccination can rightly be prohibited, just as other kinds of harmful and risky conduct are rightly prohibited. I develop an analogy to random gunfire to illustrate this point. Vaccine refusal, I argue, is morally similar to firing a weapon into the air and endangering innocent bystanders. By re-framing vaccine refusal as harmful and reckless conduct my aim is to shift the focus of the vaccine debate from non-vaccinators' religious and refusal rights to everyone else's rights against being infected with contagious illnesses. Religious freedom and rights of informed consent do not entitle non-vaccinators to harm innocent bystanders, and so coercive vaccination requirements are permissible for the sake of the potential victims of the anti-vaccine movement.
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ABSTRACT: Vaccination centres in the Campania Region, southern Italy, vaccinate children with a hexavalent vaccine that contains the mandatory vaccines diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, and viral Hepatitis B. This vaccine also includes two non-mandatory vaccines, pertussis and Haemophilus influenzae type B. Information about these optional vaccines should be communicated to the parents, and informed consent should be obtained from parents before vaccination. We explored whether informed consent was delivered to the parents, whether they signed the consent form, and whether they read and acquired the information about the vaccination that their child would receive.
Childhood immunisations are provided at specific public health vaccination centres, "Unita Operative Materno-infantili's" (UOMIs). We selected four UOMI from the Campania Region where we interviewed 1039 parents bringing their children for the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd doses of hexavalent vaccine. The consent forms were collected from the four vaccination centres and were analysed with respect to clarity and completeness.
Most of the respondents (89.5%) were mothers between 20 and 39 years of age (80.4% vs 59.6% of the fathers), they were married (87.2% vs 93.5% of the fathers), and only one-half of them were employed (50.2% vs 92.6% of the fathers). The informed consent form was received from 58.1% of the parents and signed by 52.8%, but read by 35.0% of them. Only 1.5% of parents knew which vaccines were mandatory, and 25.0% of them believed that the entire hexavalent vaccine was mandatory. When we asked the parents which non-mandatory vaccinations were administered to their children, only 0.5% indicated the Haemophilus influenzae type B and none indicated the pertussis vaccine. Thirty-six per cent of the parents replied that their child had not received any non-mandatory vaccines. No parents were informed by the operators that their children would receive non-mandatory vaccines.
In our study, consent procedures did not allow parents to acquire correct information about vaccine options for their children. Furthermore, not one health care provider informed parents that their child was receiving non-mandatory vaccines. The informed consent process and the individual health care providers did not properly inform parents about the vaccines administered to their children.
BMC Public Health 02/2014; 14(1):211. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-14-211 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The United States may justifiably exclude unvaccinated aliens, perhaps even under the assumption of Open Borders, according to which people should generally be permitted to settle in countries of their choosing. Furthermore, there are good reasons to endorse the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) current vaccination-related exclusion criteria, which were last revised in 2009. I frame my discussion around CDC's 2008 decision to permit immigrant girls and women to be excluded if they were not vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV)-a decision that was quickly reversed and that led to the 2009 revisions to CDC's vaccination-related immigrant exclusion criteria.
Kennedy Institute of Ethics journal 07/2015; 25(2):111-132. DOI:10.1353/ken.2015.0012 · 1.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: For over a century, a foreign national seeking permission to immigrate to the U.S. could have her application for immigration denied on the ground that she suffers from a serious contagious disease. For just under two decades, a foreign national seeking permission to immigrate could also have her application denied on the ground that she has not been vaccinated against each of a list of vaccination-preventable diseases. Two recently developed moral justifications for the use of such "vaccination-related exclusion criteria" have focused on (a) the right and need of a society to prevent the spread of disease to others and (b) the public good of developing and protecting herd immunity. Herein I accept these two general justifications-especially as they are developed by Mark Navin-and explore their limits. In particular, with a focus on the recently developed vaccine against several strains of HPV, as well the short-lived requirement by the CDC that it, too, be required of prospective immigrants, I argue that neither of the two main justifications for the use of vaccination-related exclusion criteria support their use for diseases such as HPV (or even HIV), the transmission of which, unlike airborne diseases such as measles, pertussis and polio, is subject to a considerable degree of individual control.
Kennedy Institute of Ethics journal 07/2015; 25(2):133-147. DOI:10.1353/ken.2015.0013 · 1.21 Impact Factor
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