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IPFS News Link • Vaccines and Vaccinations

Mandatory Vaccination and Liberty

• by Christine Smith

On December 4, 2020, a bill ( ) was introduced to the New York State Legislature which would, if passed and enacted, result in mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations. The pertinent text from the bill, "If public health officials determine that sufficient immunity has not been developed, this legislation will allow the Department of Health to require vaccination for individuals able to safely receive the vaccine."

As I considered this infringement on individual sovereignty, I perused the Internet on topics related to self-ownership. And just when I think I've seen it all, I came across writings touting mandatory vaccination as consistent with liberty/libertarianism. Really?

I found the primary focus of those making the case for compulsory vaccination being it is an act of aggression to endanger other people. By being un-vaccinated, a child, for example, is infringing upon the rights of other children by subjecting them to unnecessary risk to such serious illness. Such advocates argue that the state is legitimatized in using coercion to protect the rights of individuals from those who would use force against them (force, in this case, being putting them at a higher risk of physical harm). They focus on the community or collective interest versus individual interests.