Monday, January 26, 2015

Free market measles...

I'm trying to move past the stupefying idiocy of refusing to get measles vaccinations. (Yeah - I'm looking at you, CA). We have learned from GMO's, climate change, evolution, etc. that we are not going to reason effectively with those who embrace non-science, so what else can we do?

First, there are reasonable grounds for compulsion.
1. Phillips v. City of New York (2d Cir. Jan. 7, 2015) reaffirms that the government may mandate vaccinations. It may mandate vaccinations for everyone, and it can certainly mandate them for everyone who goes to public school. Seems quite right to me; there may indeed be a presumptive constitutional right to be free from unwanted medical treatment, but such a right can be trumped by the very strong public interest in preventing people from becoming unwitting carriers of deadly illness. (And not immunizing oneself creates a threat not just to others who choose not to immunize, or whose parents choose not to immunize them, but also to others who can’t be immunized because of age or medical condition, or whose immunity is imperfect.)Such statutes often do allow religious exemptions, but that’s not a matter of constitutional obligation. In Phillips, the one of the plaintiffs did try to claim the exemption, but the trial court found that her “objections to vaccinations were not based on religious beliefs,” and the plaintiff didn’t appeal that finding. [More]

I know, I know - Big Government Overreach - but this is clearly overridden by the Spock Principle: The needs of the Many outweigh the needs of the Few. Actually, this principle is woven through many common law fundamentals, and as Volokh points out above, has been upheld in various forms.

Measles can be very dangerous. The effectiveness math demonstrates we need to get to about 96% vaccination rates to provide herd immunity.
It’s also not a coincidence that California has been repeatedly hit by outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccine coverage is dangerously low in parts of the state, thanks to the anti-vaccine movement.In California’s Santa Monica-Malibu school district, 11.5 per cent of parents refuse to vaccinate their kids. In nearby Orange County, the figure is 8.6 per cent. In Beverly Hills it’s five per cent—almost, but not quite, a safe level of vaccine coverage.In a large study that observed measles infections in the Netherlands over decades, scientists calculated that 95.7 per cent of a population needs to be immune to measles to prevent regular outbreaks. And since no vaccine is perfectly effective, even more than that number need to be vaccinated to protect the whole community. That’s what herd immunity is: Without a good-sized population of susceptible humans to attack, viruses such as measles just don’t circulate as much, and that protects babies under one year old and others who aren’t able to get the vaccine or don’t respond to it. [More]
Idea: Auction off the rights to be in the unvaccinated 4%. Hey - we're talking Orange County here where anti-vaxxers appear to be mostly well-off. I bet they could raise enough to lower the cost of vaccine for others, or add a new football stadium at the local school.

As is so often the case, The Onion says it best.

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