Mandatory Vaccination: Why We Still Got to Get Folks to Take Their Shots   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Abstract: "Vaccination is widely considered one of the greatest medical achievements of modern civilization. Childhood diseases that were commonplace less than a generation ago are now increasingly rare because of vaccines. In order to be effective at eliminating communicable diseases, vaccines must be administered to sufficient levels of persons in the community. Because of this, public health officials have mandated vaccination for certain diseases as a condition to school attendance. The overwhelming effectiveness of vaccination programs may lead individuals to ignore the benefits of vaccination and focus more on the risk of side effects. Moreover, some have criticized the coercive nature of these programs. These objections may lead to an unacceptably high number of exemptions, which can compromise vaccination programs and leave the population susceptible to outbreaks. This paper explores vaccination programs with an eye toward greater public safety without ignoring the reality of a small but committed group of vaccine critics. The paper begins with a discussion of the historical development of mandatory vaccination policies and the issues posed by exemptions. It then addresses some of these issues in the context of vaccine safety. It also seeks solution by framing the discussion in economic terms. It concludes by recommending stricter enforcement of mandatory requirements for most vaccines and greater dissemination of information on the continued importance of vaccination."

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