A coronavirus vaccine may be the only answer to winning the war on COVID-19, a disease that has already claimed the lives of more than 162,000 Americans. Experts say that getting vaccinated may be our patriotic duty to save more lives and stop the spread of this virus, even if we disagree with getting a shot.
In an opinion piece for USA Today, Dr. Michael Lederman, Maxwell J. Mehlman, and Dr. Stuart Younger advocated for compulsory vaccination because the more people who are immune to the disease, the lower the risk for all Americans. Noncompliance will come with a price, they say.
Their recommendations include:
- Free vaccinations for all.
- Only individuals with medical conditions that could be exacerbated by the vaccine may be exempt.
- Do not honor religious objectors to refuse vaccinations, as most major religions don't oppose them.
- Personal objections should also not be honored.
The authors suggested that people who refuse to be vaccinated could lose tax credits or non-essential government benefits. "Health insurers could levy higher premiums for those who by refusing immunization place themselves and others at risk, as in the case of smokers," they wrote.
According to The Hill, the Congressional Research Committee says that individual states do have the right to mandate vaccinations and they have already exercised that right with children, allowing for a few exceptions — religious reasons, for example.
Attorney Alan Dershowitz took a strong stance on mandatory vaccinations to prevent the spread of a contagious disease.
"Let me put it very clearly, you have no constitutional right to endanger the public and spread the disease, even if you disagree. You have no right not to be vaccinated, you have no right not to wear a mask, you have no right to open your business," he said.
"And if you refuse to be vaccinated, the state has the power to literally take you to a doctor's office and plunge a needle into your arm," he added.
The authors of the USA Today opinion piece stated their case more succinctly: "We acknowledge that the refusal to obey rules one considers unjust is an American tradition. But another cornerstone of the American tradition is that we come together when it's necessary."
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