Why Should We Vaccinate?

The idea of vaccinating children has been a controversial topic in society today.  Last year there was a measles outbreak in 7 different states with 147 cases.  The outbreak came from not vaccinated children at Disney world.[1]  Whatever the reason people choose to not vaccinate their children, this affects a third party, the rest of society. “Externality, which means that the private cost of my behavior are different from the social costs.”[2]  Externality can also be defined as the cost or the benefit that affects a third party who did not choose that cost or benefit.  There can be positive externalities or negative externalities.  Parents not vaccinating their kids is a negative externality.  The rest of society is not choosing to possibly be infected by diseases just because a random parent did not vaccinate their child.  However that one not vaccinated child puts not only itself at risk for diseases, but also everyone around him or her.

A free rider is a person who takes more than their fair share, or a person who pays less than their fair share in a common resource.[3]  People can be “free riders” when they do not vaccinating their kids.  This is so because people assume everyone else is going to vaccinate their children so why do they need to spend the money and time to vaccinate their own children.  They only way we are all safe from these diseases is if we have herd immunity. Herd immunity is when a population is vaccinated so there is no way of anyone can catch disease.  When a parent chooses not to vaccinate their children, they weaken the herd immunity and make people more likely to catch one of these diseases.   The idea of “free riders” with vaccines is a huge problem.  This is a problem because if multiple people choose not vaccinate their children then too many people are free riding and breaking down societies herd immunity.

Incentives also play a role in the choice of vaccinating one’s children.  A person may think protecting their child and the rest of society from life threatening diseases would be enough of an incentive.  Parents have incentives to not vaccinate their children because think they will cause their children more harm than good.  In the article “8 Reasons Parents Don’t Vaccinate Their (And Why They Should) proves this wrong.  No doctors are going to recommend something that will make a child worse off, and these vaccines go through over 15 years of testing.[4]   Parents need the incentive to vaccinate their children and they need to stop “free riding” off other children.  Once everyone vaccinates their children then the negative externality will disappear and the rest of society will be safe from these diseases.

Vaccine in vial with syringe. Vaccination concept.  3d

Vaccine in vial with syringe. Vaccination concept. 3d

[5]

[1] Tara Haelle, “8 Reasons Parents Don’t Vaccinate (And Why They Should),” Parents.com, June 12, 2016, http://www.parents.com/health/vaccines/controversy/8-reasons-parents-dont-vaccinate-and-why-they-should/.

 

[2] Charles Wheelan, naked economics Undressing the Dismal Science (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010), 55.

[3] Charles Wheelan, naked economics Undressing the Dismal Science (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010), 72.

[4] [4] Tara Haelle, “8 Reasons Parents Don’t Vaccinate (And Why They Should),” Parents.com, June 12, 2016, http://www.parents.com/health/vaccines/controversy/8-reasons-parents-dont-vaccinate-and-why-they-should/.

 

[5] Jeffery Jaxon. Vaccine. June 15, 2016.  http://www.easybib.com/guides/citation-guides/chicago-turabian/how-to-cite-a-photo-digital-image-chicago-turabian/

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