Better Late than Never


Jane Galt wonders how some can be against mandatory HPV vaccinations.

I am going to ignore moral or religious arguments and ask why should it be mandatory?  This is not a problem of public goods and free riders; all benefits accrue to the vacinated.


4 Responses to “Better Late than Never”

  1. Eli Says:

    I think you’re on thin ice here. Refusing vaccination creates a negative externality because the diseases are communicable. Yes, benefits accrue to the vaccinated. But benefits also accrue to society for each marginal person vaccinated. If everyone were vaccinated for a particular disease, the disease would be eradicated within a generation (assuming humans were the only carriers).

    I’m not saying I’m for or against. I just think the reasoning is fairly solid.

  2. Stewart Says:

    How does one non vaccinated person infecting another non vaccinated person create the argument for mandatory vaccinations?

    Both parties decided that they would rather risk infection than pay for vaccination.

  3. Jane Galt Says:

    There’s some confusion about how vaccines work here. They do not work by protecting you 100%; sometimes they don’t take, and in many cases, the immunity fades over time. Vaccines work by making the disease so unlikely to be transmitted that there is no reservoir for the disease to live; that’s why a few missed years of polio vaccination in Africa or India can touch off epidemics. That’s why for any disease that’s a broad risk, the state generally requires vaccination.

  4. Stewart Says:

    I understand the reservoir; I am dubious because of Coase.

    An externality occurs because of at least two people. In this case, the property rights are clearly defined, otherwise it would be rape. The issues then are transaction costs, the large part of which will be obtaining health information. Your polio example works because there is a tremendous cost in ascertaining the health of the hundreds of people we encounter each day. Sex is an intimate relationship between two people and the relative costs of information are much lower. This is why I believe Coase is applicable to this example but not necessarily to Polio.

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