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Why vaccines should be compulsory

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Imagine we develop a vaccine against the coronavirus (COVID-19). Suppose the vaccine has some very small chance of some serious side effects, for instance seizures. However, this vaccine can save millions of lives globally, in the same way as other vaccines do. You are the prime minister and you have to decide whether to make the vaccine compulsory. You know that many people are opposed to vaccines and especially compulsory vaccination. They would not vaccinate even if failure to vaccinate enough people would result in a pandemic that would kill millions of people worldwide and devastate the world’s economy. They think that the state should have no business in telling us what should go into our bodies, that vaccines are harmful, that infectious diseases are no riskier than vaccines, and that the claims about the COVID-19 outbreak have been exaggerated or even made up to promote compulsory vaccination campaigns by Big Pharma. The example at this point is no longer purely hypothetical, unfortunately. Even now, as the coronavirus pandemic is getting worse and worse and killing an increasing number of people every day, there are those who would not want to vaccinate against COVID-19 if this vaccine was available, for all these reasons. One of us wrote a short article three years ago defending mandatory vaccination policies. As the latest contagion started spreading in the US, people started commenting on that article again, suggesting that this virus is a scam and that various people have engineered it to boost pro-vaccine campaigns. For instance, someone wrote: “What a crock (…) this is from 2017 and three years later Italy is right up there with S Korea and China for Coronavirus cases. Yeah that crap doesn’t work”. Other comments are more explicit. Now let’s jump back in time. Suppose you are the prime minister in the early 1990s. You are dealing with a different public health problem: the very high number of victims of car accidents. Cars are not as safe as they. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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