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Inoculation

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I'm familiar enough with Objectivism to know that any healthcare including inoculation is a personal choice and none of government's business. However there is a special case with vaccinations, which can be best explained with an example.

Let's say person A decides against vaccines and therefore takes a risk of getting the disease. Person B vaccinated himself and wants to have his newborn vaccinated too, but the vaccination can only be done at a certain age. Until then the baby is vulnerable to catching the disease from person A. If the baby catches the disease and dies person A is not responsible because he didn't do it on purpose. Person A doesn't have to sacrifice himself for the baby. Yet this is fucked up, because we have a dead baby and it could've been avoided by forcing person A to get vaccinated.

Do we accept the baby death as a negative side-effect of higher values or am I missing something?

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I'm familiar enough with Objectivism to know that any healthcare including inoculation is a personal choice and none of government's business. However there is a special case with vaccinations, which can be best explained with an example.

Let's say person A decides against vaccines and therefore takes a risk of getting the disease. Person B vaccinated himself and wants to have his newborn vaccinated too, but the vaccination can only be done at a certain age. Until then the baby is vulnerable to catching the disease from person A. If the baby catches the disease and dies person A is not responsible because he didn't do it on purpose. Person A doesn't have to sacrifice himself for the baby. Yet this is fucked up, because we have a dead baby and it could've been avoided by forcing person A to get vaccinated.

Do we accept the baby death as a negative side-effect of higher values or am I missing something?

At least some of this apparent conflict can be settled by considering that in an ideal society, there would be little or no purely public space. The proprietors of private spaces may require people to have been vacinnated against certain diseases, if there is anything so virile as to persuade the public that they will avoid places where infected people might be.

The child's school, etc., would pretty surely be governed by rules about innoculation. Otherwise, I believe it is the parents' responsibility to keep the vulnerable child safe from contagion. Medical masks for the child, etc.

Mindy

Edited by Mindy
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Generally speaking, every person has the right to act according to his best judgment, so you have the right to live your right un-vaccinated if you wish. On the other hand, no person has the right to infect another with a deadly disease, therefore if you have a bad case of Ebola, then an enforced quarantine is proper. So there is no right to sneeze Ebola virus onto newborn babies. However, there is also no right to sneeze Ebola virus onto adults, therefore quarantine until you die is the proper solution. I mention Ebola because of its "death certain" property.

Some infants die from the flu every year; some adults do not get inoculated against the flu every year. We cannot rightly conclude from the first fact that all adults must be forced to get flu shots (this is on the fabricated premise that you can't inoculate infants, to be more consistent with your hypothetical). The key, I believe, is that infant death is not a foregone conclusion, and that there are many ways to prevent the disease, including sequestering the child until they are old enough to be inoculated.

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I feel like there have been threads about imposing risk on others which have discussed the principle in some detail, but I can't seem to find any of them. If someone locates one, I think it'd be relevant to this conversation.

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