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About the Vaccine

About the Vaccine

As discussed elsewhere in this issue, health care workers have a strong ethical obligation to get vaccinated, yet rates of vaccination in recent years have been disappointingly low. Ultimately, in New York the use of coercion backfired, with potentially far-reaching and lasting impact on future vaccination programs.

It is admirable for the U.S. to hone a sense of solidarity among individuals, to illustrate our interrelatedness and the collective impact of many of our decisions. However, this will not happen overnight, and should not be used to justify placing burdens on certain individuals.

Rather, we should — in an engaged and open fashion — discuss how to fairly share benefits and burdens. And certainly, if we are going to call on individuals like Jane to be vaccinated for the benefit of others, we should have adequate data vis-à-vis those benefits. By learning these lessons, we can reframe the mandate experience as a teaching model for how we might better use policy to advance patient and professional interests within a meaningful vision of solidarity.

— Amy T. Campbell

Published: Friday, January 1, 2010
Filed Under: In the News, Q and A