The pandemic of COVID-19 started two years ago, in November 2019, and it has taken the lives of thousands of people all over the world till the present time. Even though self-isolation, social distancing, and wearing masks prevent people from getting infected, people cannot stay at home forever. One of the best ways to stop the pandemic is to get a vaccine. Currently, there are several types of coronavirus vaccines in the world, including adenovirus vector, mRNA, inactivated virus, and virus-like particle ones, to name but a few. The American government has authorized the injection of vaccines produced by Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen. In modern society, there is a split between those who support and resist vaccination. The present written debate presents arguments for and against making vaccination mandatory.
The primary reason to support the idea of mandatory vaccination is that it will help stop the spread of disease. As it is noted by Preeti et al., mandatory vaccines will not only decrease the frequency of hospitalizations but also “reduce healthcare workers shortages and protect health system capacity.” This, in turn, will help health care settings to improve the quality of the provided care. Hence, mandatory vaccination is helpful for the individual health of American citizens and the well-being of the national health care system.
Another reason for mandatory vaccination is that it enhances the safety of patients and healthcare workers (HCW). Healthcare organizations are obliged to “ensure a safe environment for patients, HCW, and visitors” (Preeti et al.). The more people are vaccinated, the lower the viral transmission rates are and the safer the environment is for patients and medical personnel. What is more, the rejection to get a vaccine for an asymptomatic carrier of coronavirus might harm other people who want to but have not got the vaccine yet (Wynia et al.). Mandatory vaccination corresponds with the obligation of healthcare workers not to harm patients and helps slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
At the same time, people who resist mandatory vaccination argue that it is only up to them to decide on their health. In other words, the opponents of compulsory vaccination treat it as “a restriction on personal liberty” (Wynia et al.). Additionally, mandatory vaccination could be performed only on the medications authorized in the US. From this, it could be inferred that opponents do not resist vaccination per se; instead, they want to be free to choose between all the existing alternatives, including foreign vaccines.
Another argument against mandatory vaccination is that citizens have no right to refuse treatment. This might be a problem for people who do not trust science and do not take medicines for religious or spiritual reasons. In the modern world, there are people who still prefer to be treated with herbs and prayers. Consequently, mandatory vaccination contradicts their worldview, beliefs, and personal choices.
I support mandatory vaccination because it is the only way to stop the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19. In normal times people should have a right to decide whether to receive treatment. However, the present situation is far from normal, and, thus, every person should do everything possible to prevent the spread of the pandemic. As Wynia et al. put it, even in regular times, people obey the laws, follow the speed limits, and avoid smoking in planes to protect their lives and the well-being of other people. Thus, from my perspective, mandatory vaccination should be treated not as a violation of individual rights and freedoms but as signs and traffic lights on the road that is fatally dangerous to disobey.
Preeti, John R. et al. “Ethical Considerations for a COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate.” Society of Critical Care Medicine, 2021, Web.
Wynia, Matthew K. et al. “Why A Universal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Is Ethical Today.” Health Affairs, 2020, Web.