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?


6 comments :

  1. I would point out to Prof. Myers that, up to now, vaccine refusal is far more widespread in Great Britain then in the US, thanks to the phony study done by the quack Andrew Wakefield.

    One might also question what might happen in Canada if the Liberal Party gets into power with its current shadow health minister, a quackapractor.

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  2. About the only way you could be more wrong would be to post under the wrong name ... but I've got no way of checking that.

    First, you point something out to Myers on Moran's blog when he's commenting on a post by Stemwedel.

    Second, in Canada, they are known are Opposition Critics, not shadow ministers

    And third (and most seriously wrong) ...

    if the Liberal Party gets into power with its current shadow health minister, a quackapractor.

    The health critic is Carolyn Bennett. From
    http://www.liberal.ca/en/team/mp/9578_carolyn-bennett ...

    Prior to her election, Dr. Bennett was a family physician in Toronto, a founding partner of Bedford Medical Associates in downtown Toronto, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto.

    Nice try!!

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  3. In game-theoretic terms, the vaccine refuseniks are "defectors". They are self-limiting in this case, since they will preferentially get hit by the diseases in question. That immunocompromised and newborn people may also suffer is tragic collateral damage, but not germane to the spread of defectors since no benefit is conferred upon the defectors.

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  4. Re Scott

    1. Obviously, I meant Prof. Moran where I said Prof. Myers.

    2. I stand corrected relative to the current opposition critic for health. It appears that I was unaware that Ruby Dhalla, a quackipractor, is a former opposition critic for minister of health.

    3. I apologize for using British terminology shadow health minister for opposition critic health minister. Since Canada was formerly a British possession, I was under the impression that they used the same terminology.

    However, it's bad enough that the current minister for science and technology is not only a quackipractor but also a creationist. As bad as the Bush administration was on science issues, at least the the presidents science adviser, Dr. Marburger, was a legitimate scientist.

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  5. SLC says,

    Since Canada was formerly a British possession, I was under the impression that they used the same terminology.

    Perfectly understandable. Since the USA was also a former British possession it's safe to assume that Americans use the same terminology as well.

    Oops ... I see that there's no such thing as elected cabinet ministers in the USA, let alone specific critics or shadow ministers. Isn't that strange?

    However, it's bad enough that the current minister for science and technology is not only a quackipractor but also a creationist. As bad as the Bush administration was on science issues, at least the the presidents science adviser, Dr. Marburger, was a legitimate scientist.

    Well I guess that proves that America under George Bush was far more liberal and science friendly than Canada is today.

    George Bush's Secretary of Health and Human Services was Mike Leavitt, a Mormon from Utah.

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  6. I would point out to Prof. Moran that Canada and Great Britain both have parliamentary forms of governance where effectively the executive and legislative are combined while the US has separation of the executive and the legislative. Therefore, I fail to see the point of his comment. So Great Britain uses the term shadow ministers and Canada uses the term opposition critics. Same thing with different nomenclature.

    As for former Governor Leavitt, is Prof. Moran claiming that being a member of the Mormon church is equivalent to someone being a quackipractor? How about a member of the Roman Catholic Church or a member of an Evangelical Church? Is Francis Collins the equivalent of a quackipractor?

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