Giving Compass' Take:

· The authors discuss the American value of freedom of choice and how a vaccination for the coronavirus may need to be enforced though legislation in order to protect the public.

· How have individual states responded to the current pandemic?  What type of legislation is possible to enforce a vaccination for this disease?  

· Check out this article to learn about herd immunity and its potential.

With scientists striving for a viable coronavirus vaccine, and public health officials considering its potential rollout, do calls for freedom of choice and anti-vaccination sentiments, as seen in recent televised protests, represent a worrying omen?

Choice is central to American life, with freedom of speech and of opinion embedded in the U.S. Constitution. But at what point does a communal necessity, such as immunization, outweigh personal choice? How much choice do people in self-acclaimed free societies really have? Choice to murder a troublesome neighbor, or drive through a red light? Of course not. Choosing to avoid taxes or decline a vaccine may be considered acceptable by some, but are arguably a moral failure (PDF) to contribute to the public good.

Herd immunity through vaccination generally requires 75-95 percent public participation, with more contagious diseases typically requiring higher uptakes. This majority who chooses immunization protects their whole community, including those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

The United States chooses to persuade public uptake, rather than legislate for it. There is no federal law mandating immunization. Although viruses don't respect state lines, individual states determine their own vaccination requirements for specific groups, such as children, healthcare workers, and residents in healthcare facilities, but there is little regulatory provision for the rest of the adult population, with limited public infrastructure for the mass vaccination of adults.

Read the full article about vaccination and coronavirus by Alina I. Palimaru and Marcus Dillistone at RAND Corporation.