Wednesday, February 04, 2015

How to Achieve High Vaccination Rates Without Forcing a Command-and-Control Vaccination Edict on Everyone

Stuart K. Hayashi

 I think that people are trying to make vaccination a binary issue, where either we have command-and-control mandates that everyone be vaccinated, or the State leaves people be free to avoid vaccination and thus contribute to the risk of spreading measles. I think that there can be an individualist solution -- for individuals to be held civilly liable for transmitting particularly dangerous communicable diseases.

Let's suppose I refuse to let everyone in my household be vaccinated for measles. Then I contract measles and transmit it to you. That would be an inadvertent initiation of the use of force, comparable to what would happen if I drove recklessly and accidentally hit you with my car. Therefore, you should be able to hold me civilly liable. You should be able to sue me for damages, since the transmission of measles is an accidental initiation of the use of force.

And I think that a family choosing to vaccinate would be a legal protection against such lawsuits. Under those circumstances, there wouldn't be a command-and-control edict forcing everyone to be
vaccinated, but individuals would still be incentivized to vaccinate.