Herd Immunity and Immunization Policy: The Importance of Accuracy
47 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2015 Last revised: 11 Aug 2015
Date Written: April 7, 2015
This article explains why claims made by Holland and Zachary in their article, Herd Immunity and Compulsory Childhood Vaccination: Does the Theory Justify the Law?, are incorrect and untenable. The authors misunderstand the nature of society’s duty to children, which is not similar to duty in torts but draws from the state’s role in protecting vulnerable children when their parents do not act in their best interests. Their view of herd immunity is also incorrect: the article does not well define the term, ignores data showing that herd immunity works, and their discussion of their two examples is inaccurate: close examination of those examples actually shows the role of herd immunity in protecting against disease. Finally, the authors’ analysis does not support their claim that mandates are unnecessary.
Keywords: vaccines, exemptions, education, herd immunity
JEL Classification: I18, I28, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation