It is reported that half of Americans will refuse to be vaccinated for Covid-19. Is this ethical?

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About John Hooker

T. Jerome Holleran Professor of Business Ethics and Social Responsibility Tepper School of Business Carnegie Mellon University

2 responses »

  1. John Hooker says:

    This is an ethical no-brainer. Those who plan to refuse a Coronavirus vaccine are free riders. They want to benefit from the protection provided by those who get vaccinated, without doing their share. It is a textbook violation of the generalization principle. A vaccine can work like it should only if nearly everyone gets it.

    Refusing vaccines also violates the utilitarian principle, because it increases the probability of getting the disease. Even if one’s own case is mild, Covid-19 is extremely contagious and could afflict others with a serious or even fatal illness. Those who require hospitalization will burden stressed-out medical workers with still more patients and increase the risk of infecting them with the disease.

    Nobody is saying the government should force people to get vaccinated. This is not the issue. Rather, we should all step up and voluntarily do our part to get rid of this wretched virus. Nothing could be clearer.


    • Anonymous says:

      Government’s force us to pay taxes, register for the draft, obey traffic laws, etc. With so much at stake, why shouldn’t government require vaccinations without a serious medical reason not to do so? What makes this issue different from driving safely or paying taxes?


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