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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Georgia Southern: Reports on Ethics of Parental Refusal to Vaccinate

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccination has reduced the burden of infectious diseases to a significant extent. In recent times, however, the focus has been more on vaccine safety rather than effectiveness. As with any other public health program, immunizations and associated policies are designed to protect the health of the public. Compared to minor risks of side effects of vaccination, the risk of infection often rationalizes the use of vaccination. In states like Georgia, with fewer outbreaks associated with non-vaccination, the need to access community immunity remains constant. Though some articles have assessed parental refusal of childhood vaccination as an ethical concern, few have addressed the economic burden to society as a result of parental rights to refuse vaccination in the ethical contexts of rights, outbreak costs, and community safety.

Ethical issues of community safety and costs of the outbreak, as well as the rights of the child, should be considered in the debate of childhood vaccination. Research, policy, and parental education strategies should also take ethical implications into account to encourage well-informed policy and parental decision-making.

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