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

Abstract

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

Reiss, Dorit Rubinstein, Herd Immunity and Immunization Policy: The Importance of Accuracy (April 7, 2015). Oregon Law Review, Vol. 94, 2015, Forthcoming, UC Hastings Research Paper No. 143, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2591591

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss (Contact Author)

UC Hastings Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States
415-5654844 (Phone)
415-5654865 (Fax)

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