Mandatory Vaccination Case Study

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Anti-vaxxers have questioned the safety, effectiveness and necessity of vaccinations since the 19th Century. But, what happens when the freedom to choose does not solely affect the life of the individual making the choice? This was made clear in a Law and Order SVU episode, selfish. In this essay, I will argue that the Monica’s choice not to vaccinate her child was morally impermissible at the time. In doing so, I will integrate this week’s readings into the discussion and comment on how my response to the moral impermissibility of Monica’s act informs my view about mandatory vaccination laws and the legal consequences for non-compliant individuals. In the United States, each state establishes under what circumstances an exemption can be made for not receiving a vaccination. More generally, there are two…show more content…
While no legal case for holding an individual liable for failing to vaccinate a child exists (that is known of), a case can be made for charging an individual for criminal liability under criminal negligent homicide. This was the charge given to Monica in the Law and Order episode. While Monica was found not guilty, Caplan has identified that in theory, an individual can be held liable (civil or criminal) for the death of another even under “state law permitting exemptions” (2012, 610). Although legal consequences are an option for non-complying individuals, as I have said, mandatory vaccination should be the last option for increasing vaccinations. We should also think about whether there are other ways for enforcing mandatory vaccination laws besides looking at criminal or civil liability (e.g. heavy fines until the individual gets vaccinated, community service
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