Vaccine Hesitancy and Coercive Vaccination in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Preliminary Moral Evaluation
Keywords:2019冠狀病毒病疫情, 強制疫苗接種, 後果評價, 多元價值, 疫苗猶疑, COVID-19 pandemic, coercive vaccination, consequential evaluation, plural values, vaccine hesitancy
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract also in English.
Vaccine hesitancy, a delay in acceptance or even refusal of vaccination, is a problem not only linked to public knowledge of science but also caused by complex beliefs and a lack of confidence in authority. People who support coercive vaccination argue that vaccination is a comparatively safe path for people in a community to reach herd immunity. Weighing the benefits and costs, coercive vaccination is morally permissible. However, whether we should enact it for Covid-19 vaccines or respect people who have vaccine hesitancy is a moral issue worthy of detailed investigation. Similar debates have also been around coercive use of the measles vaccine, which will serve as a point of comparison in this evaluation.
There are different kinds of arguments for and against policies of coercive vaccination, but whether positive or negative, they involve values that are incommensurable but should be compared and ranked accordingly in different situations. We argue that consequential evaluation, as suggested by Amartya Sen, forms the moral reasoning and foundation to evaluate these plural values. Using consequential evaluation, we can compare the moral similarities and differences between Covid-19 vaccines and measles vaccines and develop a framework to evaluate the moral issue of coercive vaccination.
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