“Herd immunity” is one of the primary considerations for mandatory vaccinations in the United States. That is, when a large segment of the population is inoculated against certain infectious diseases, individuals – both vaccinated and unvaccinated – benefit, as well as the community as a whole. A true mandate for vaccinating all schoolchildren in the United States has not been enacted since World War I. Today, all states allow medical exceptions for children who have HIV, are undergoing organ transplants, are allergic to eggs used in preparing some vaccines, or other medical reasons. Nearly every state also has exemptions that allow parents to exempt their children from state vaccination requirements on the basis of religious, philosophical, moral, or other personal beliefs. Recent epidemics of childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, and pertussis in the United States indicate that objection to mandatory vaccinations have increased.
- As a healthcare practitioner, are you ethically bound to be vaccinated for common contagious diseases? Defend your answer.