This article will give 4 reasons that legislation, executive action, or other public action to make vaccines mandatory is a bad idea and should not be supported.
First, let me disclaim that I am not against vaccines. Vaccines are quite often a good idea, except when they aren’t, but this article is not to put down vaccines. I am specifically attacking the idea that government should force vaccine taking, particularly on people who don’t want them.
1 – Economic Incentives
Mandatory vaccines create an economic incentive not to obtain a vaccine, while a free market creates an incentive to get a vaccine.
2 – Calculation Problems and Inefficiency
Each vaccine has a cost and a benefit. It is not necessarily the case that benefits exceed costs in all cases therefore they should not be mandatory. States have an incentive to miscalculate health costs and benefits which they do all the time a la Obamacare and the FDA.
Markets calculate better both because they have better access to information and also because they do not face the same moral hazard faced by a monopolistic state.
This is not only a vaccine or health market problem. This is all markets. The general trend in every market should be toward privatization. We should only use the government when absolutely necessary, which is arguably never.
3 – Cronyism
Markets aren’t susceptible to many of the weaknesses of government. Such problems include moral hazard, regulatory capture, political capture of other officials such as legislators, judges, and presidents, the disproportionate influence of special interest groups, cronyism, and more.
In short, government requiring vaccines will almost certainly result in a crony relationship with a vaccine provider which will create problems of efficiency, moral problems, and ultimately health problems as well.
Cronyism in politics will result in health problems for two reasons. First, government will partner with firms that have socio-political connections instead of professional know-how. They are going to make crappy vaccines with less efficacy, higher rates of side effect, and higher prices. This is not speculation. Remember the Obamacare website? Plenty more examples where that came from.
The second way public health cronyism will ultimately harm public health is that government will have an incentive, in cooperation with the crony producers, to require completely unnecessary vaccines, and perhaps non-vaccine medicines, originally aimed at preventing biological contagion effects, but later on perhaps for other reasons such as mental health regulation.
4 – Precedent
Regulation of public health is a precedent allowing regulation of just about anything including life and death. This is unconstitutional, inefficient, and immoral.
Some might argue that the government has the right to defend the public welfare, but as I have demonstrated the welfare of the public is maximized on the free market. To maximize welfare the trend should be toward free markets not increased central control.