Individual rights & vaccination policy

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After reviewing Module 2: Lecture Materials & Resources, discuss the following;

School board trustees are requesting public comment before they vote on a vaccination policy for all children in a local school district. Should individual rights (e.g., parents’ rights to decide whether to vaccinate their children) be compromised to control the spread of communicable diseases for the good of society? 

Submission Instructions:

  • Your initial post should be at least 500 words, formatted and cited in current APA style with support from at least 2 academic sources. Your initial post is worth 8 points.
  • You should respond to at least two of your peers by extending, refuting/correcting, or adding additional nuance to their posts. Your reply posts are worth 2 points (1 point per response.) 
  • All replies must be constructive and use literature where possible.

· You should respond to at least two of your peers by extending, refuting/correcting, or adding additional nuance to their posts. All replies must be constructive and use literature where possible.


David Nunez Leyva

St. Thomas University

NUR 420 AP1: Community Health Nursing

Dr. Tina Roberts

January 19, 2023

Individual Rights & Vaccination Policy

Vaccination policies can prove important for enhancing public health, and ensuring that the health and wellbeing of people and the communities they live in is assured. Rus and Groselj (2021) note that vaccination is the most important public health achievement of the twentieth century, but despite this recognition, there still exists a lack of consensus concerning its beneficence and importance among the general population. It is further noted that vaccines are victims of their own success, as they have succeeded in reducing the incidences of diseases, and in the process diminished the historical experience of disease burdens, which makes some people in our modern society to be unappreciative of the important role that vaccines play in public health (Rus & Groselj, 2021). Considering the known benefits associated with vaccination, and the arguments against the practice in some fronts, it is important to consider whether individual rights should be upheld or compromised as it pertains to the use of vaccines to control the spread of communicable diseases for the good of society.

            Some ethical considerations should be made when making a decision on whether individual rights should be compromised in favor of vaccination for the benefit of society. Hendrix et al. (2016) have noted that childhood vaccination must maintain a balance between parents’ autonomy in deciding whether their children should be immunized, and the potential public health benefits that may be realized by making vaccines mandatory. Where the spread of communicable diseases is imminent, it would be prudent to compromise on individual rights for the greater good. Vaccination results in attainment of herd immunity, which ultimately reduces the risk of the spread of a given disease. Compromising on individual rights and mandating vaccines can be viewed as an ethical approach in ensuring that all members of a community contributes to herd immunity (Hendrix et al., 2016). When individuals are given the liberty over vaccination decisions, they are less likely to accept the immunization due to perceived risks, but will still stand to benefit from the attainment of herd immunity. To address this problem of free riders it become important for government and other policy makers to compromise on this individual liberty and ensure that everyone is required to receive vaccination to aid in preventing spread of communicable diseases.

            Forcefully mandating vaccinations may not always be successful, as we live in a country where individual rights are strongly acknowledged and protected. Mandatory vaccines may be a disproportionate intrusive legal measure, and should only be considered in certain conditions, for example where the disease is severe and extraordinarily contagious and where there is a well developed and tested vaccine with proved safety and effectiveness (Pierik, 2020). Mandating risky or novel vaccination may be potentially risky, and in such cases, individual must be provided with an autonomy to make a decision on whether to receive the vaccination or not, based on a personal analysis of the potential benefits and risks.

In the midst of this ethical dilemma, communicating and providing individuals with adequate information is important. When individuals are well-informed they are in a better position to accept vaccination and provide informed consent (Hendrix et al., 2016). Opposition to vaccination may be due to different reasons such as religious beliefs and conspiracy theories. Understanding the hesitancy of individuals, and providing adequate factual information and education may prove effective in communicating the importance of vaccination, which would allow more members of a community to willingly adopt immunization programs without being forced through intrusive mandatory vaccination programs (Hendrix et al., 2016). Overall, the benefits of vaccination cannot be understated, but it is also important to make some ethical considerations as it pertains to the implementation of immunization programs and individual rights. In some cases, it is justifiable to compromise on individual rights, while in others communication and information dissemination should be prioritized to ensure individuals provided informed consent.


Hendrix, K. S., Sturm, L. A., Zimet, G. D., & Meslin, E. M. (2016). Ethics and childhood vaccination policy in the United States. 
American Journal of Public Health
106(2), 273-278. to an external site.

Pierik, R. (2020). Vaccination policies: Between best and basic interests of the child, between precaution and proportionality. 
Public Health Ethics
13(2), 201-214. to an external site.

Rus, M., & Groselj, U. (2021). Ethics of vaccination in childhood—A framework based on the four principles of biomedical ethics. 
9(2), 113.


Arronte George

NUR-420 Community Health Nursing

St. Thomas University

Dr. Tina Roberts

19 January 2023



Individual Rights & Vaccination Policy

 Immunization is one of the most effective ways of health promotion and prevention of various diseases or infections. Immunization is described as the process through which a person is protected from diseases (World Health Organization, 2019). That is usually done by using a vaccine that helps a person become more immune to various infections. Immunization is also necessary as it curbs the spread of some diseases to others, hence meaning that once a person is diagnosed with a particular disease, the vaccine suppresses it to the extent that it is not contagious to others (World Health Organization, 2019). There is a significant need for every person, especially children, to be immunized at the community level.  

However, research has shown that there is an increased rate of vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S., which is contributed to the refusal of parents in vaccinating their children (Weithorn & Reiss, 2018). The issue of children’s vaccination is complex as it involves striking a balance between public health and the parents’ autonomy in deciding whether to vaccinate their children or not. The controversies for childhood immunization affect community health as it leads to hesitancy. Parents who believe that vaccines have side effects are likely to hesitate to take their children for vaccination (Weithorn & Reiss, 2018). That is likely to cause increased health risks. Children who are not immunized are more vulnerable to diseases, and some of these diseases could be spread to other members of the community. Although most states have mandated vaccination policies that ensure that children have received particular vaccination before they are enrolled in a school, there is still some vaccination that is not covered in these policies.

Due to such issues, there could be legal and ethical conflicts when trying to figure out whether school board committees could enforce a policy for compulsory vaccination of all school-going children. Therefore, the school board trustees must seek public opinion before voting for such a vaccination policy because vaccination is a public health concern. However, such a policy could undermine individual rights, such as that of parents’ autonomy regarding the immunization of their children. Therefore, I believe that the vaccination policy should not compromise such individual rights. For that reason, the school board committee must have a policy that is as transparent as possible.

However, parents who may be hesitant to accept vaccination could be offered evidence-based vaccine education, and reimbursement for clinicians who provide vaccine-related counseling (Cardenas-Comfort & Majumder, 2019). These would help the parents to realize the importance of allowing their children to be vaccinated, and that would not violate any individual’s rights. However, besides that, the school-board committee could also liaise with local legislators to help with the implementation of policies to reinforce this vaccination policy at school. That would help in ensuring that the community has strategic approaches and legislative policies that ensure that parents allow their children to receive 100% immunization as recommended by public healthcare professionals. However, individuals should be assured that the intended vaccines are 100% safe for children, with no side effects.


Cardenas-Comfort, C., & Majumder, M. (2019). Laws about transparent school vaccination reporting: Public health context and ethics. American Journal of Public Health, 109(12), 1687–1690.
Links to an external site.

Weithorn, L. A., & Reiss, D. R. (2018). Legal approaches to promoting parental compliance with childhood immunization recommendations. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 14(7), 1610–1617.

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