A leading association of bioethicists has come squarely behind the idea of mandated vaccination. A statement issued by the Association of Bioethics Program Directors (ABPD) declared that “To protect the health, safety and future prosperity of humankind, mandated vaccination is now necessary.” It was supported by two-thirds of ABPD members.
There are about 100 members.
In an explanatory note, well-known bioethicist Art Caplan said that “I fervently hope the position statement from an organization representing moral expertise in matters of health care ethics will counter flawed moral objections to vaccine mandates so that the threat from Covid-19 can be greatly reduced in North America and around the world.”
Caplan dismisses the two main objections to vaccine mandates.
First, compulsion is necessary. “Covid-19 with its 4.5 million deaths, untold numbers of people with disabling complications, psychosocial havoc and burdens on health systems is recognized as a very serious public health emergency. It makes sound ethical sense to permit restrictions on both liberty and personal choice including mandating vaccination.”
Second, it’s not really compulsion anyway, as people are still free to make choose. While normally people have a right to bodily integrity, including a right to refuse vaccinations, the government has a responsibility to sanction them. “One may reject vaccination but then be subjected to penalties including fines, loss of employment, loss of benefits, restrictions on travel, restrictions on accessing certain businesses and services and denial of entry to government positions.”
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