The ethics of federal mandatory vaccination in the United States can be determined through the following case-study.
Description of case study: In 2003, President George W. Bush put forward a plan to vaccinate 450,000 public health-care workers (including military personnel, health care workers, and first-responders) against smallpox in case of a bioterrorist attack on the United States. The plan was ultimately unsuccessful because only 4,213 of the desired 450,000 actually opted to get the vaccine. Inoculation is optional for the targeted personnel (except for those in the military), so with no initial financial protection plan in place, most of the workers decided to stay unvaccinated. ...view middle of the document...
Over the course of almost 200 years, Jenner’s vaccine became the most-successful preventative healthcare solution to date, finally eradicating smallpox in 1980 (5). Smallpox is the only virus that has ever been eradicated. So in 2003, when U.S. President George W. Bush proposed a plan to vaccinate citizens against smallpox, an ethical dilemma arose.
What is the ethical question: Should the US government be allowed to federally mandate a vaccine?
Currently in the United States, the federal government does not mandate any vaccines. Instead, the decision to require vaccines is left up to the individual states’ discretion (1). All fifty states do require certain vaccines for children entering the public school system, but each state individually decided to mandate inoculation based on the idea of “herd immunity” (2).
Define terms: “herd immunity” is the result of wide-spread vaccination or natural-immunity to a certain strain of an illness or disease. This occurs when even those who go unvaccinated can reap the benefits of immunization indirectly by never facing exposure to an illness in the first place because of the lack of transmission.
Other relevant facts:
Medical: [explain how new smallpox vaccine works]
Mechanism of action:
What are the relevant ethical considerations?
Respect for persons: not treating someone as a mere means to a goal or end
In the United States Declaration of Independence, it is stated that “All men are created equal.” Therefore, regardless of the Catholic stance on this issue, it can be agreed upon by U.S. citizens that it is imperative that whatever the decision, the outcome must respect all people involved. Those involved include military personnel, health care workers, and first-responders, their families,...