Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Vaccine refuseniks are free-riders
There are some really interesting ethical issues associated with vaccinations. The advantages of vaccination benefit the entire community (the "herd") but not necessarily the individual. If everyone is vaccinated then one person can opt out without a great deal of risk. They get the benefit but don't pay the cost. They get a free ride.
Janet Stemwedel is interested in these ethical problems. Read what she has to say about those who refuse to vaccinate their children at Vaccine refuseniks are free-riders.
I wonder if there's a cultural difference when it comes to these kinds of problems? Are there some cultures who value the society more than the individual and others who value the individual more? If so, do they differ in the number of people who refuse to be vaccinated?