TED Conversations

Srdjan Kamenko


This conversation is closed.

When it comes to vaccine intervention for disease control, should personal liberty go before the benefit to society?

This question is extremely important when one considers current news on the Human Papillomavirus vaccine. The main vaccine, Gardasil, has been widely used on women ages 9-26 since its introduction in 2006. The vaccine first made waves in 2007 when Texas governor Rick Perry issued an executive order to mandate the vaccine for all young women in Texas. Even though it was met with much opposition and ultimately failed, the question still remained: should we have a mandatory HPV vaccine for all women? The two sides of the argument clash, each bringing significant evidence to bear on the issue. Mathematical models indicate that with a vaccine as effective as this one (about 100%), mandating the vaccine will stamp out the virus types targeted by the vaccine. HPV is the most common STI with 45% of college age women currently infected. Freeing society of such a dangerous virus, the number one cause of cervical cancer, is a highlight of the pro-mandate argument. The opposition suggests that personal liberty is at stake, and that parents should have the choice to vaccinate their children if they believe the vaccine is worth it for them. What do you think? Is it reasonable to limit personal liberty for the good of the community in the face of a spreading killer virus?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Mar 6 2012: Mostly this relies on education and information. With a decent percentage of vaccined people, epidemics stop spreading. However, we live in groups, and while a single infected person can start a worldwide epidemic, through history we've long had quarantine and isolation wards. Forcing everybody comes down to dictatorship, with a terrifying perspective : what if a compulsory vaccine did start a massive scale death rate through reaction to the vaccine? Once again, there is no black or white solution to this, and people should be massively informed and educated prior to be massively vaccined, and not misinformed through some big lab propaganda or uneducated politicians.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.