As a shift toward authoritarianism in Western governance finds civilians increasingly at the mercy of liberty-robbing laws, punitive (in)justice, and state control, our individual sovereignty as human beings and parents to decide whether or not children should be vaccinated might not be ours to make quite soon.
While both sides of the public vaccine debate maintain intractably obstinate, the governments of Australia and several European nations have come out in support of inoculation mandates — or penalties steep enough to equivocate mandates — to the consternation of parents concerned for the dearth in comprehensive research on the topic.
Pro-vaccine positions contend the safety of vaccines and their track record of nearly annihilating deadly and dreaded diseases; but detractors say the benefits have not been examined in the context of the shots potential interactions with one another, among other seemingly imperative points.
Both sides deem one another child abusers for their positions, and — although Western laws do not yet prohibit refusing inoculation — legislation trends intimate the State has lost patience with parents who refuse to follow the full vaccination schedule, in whole or part, with children enrolled in public education.
Driving the international push toward mandatory immunization are multiple outbreaks of diseases worldwide — measles and whooping cough, for example — previously thought so minimal a modern risk as to be considered nearly eradicated. Recent acts of legislation throughout the West indicate the response to these public health crises will ultimately mean a loss of choice for the people on a particularly thorny topic, Vox reports,
“Europe has long struggled with a vaccine mistrust problem … and these new laws or policy proposals arose in the context of ongoing, unprecedented measles outbreaks across the continent. Australia has also dealt with its share of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks, and the government crackdown is part of a push to get 95 percent of Australian children vaccinated with routine immunizations, above the current rate of 93 percent.”
European and Australian lawmakers quickly busied themselves with fending off possible epidemics, reaching various State-forced solutions to the debate.
At the end of July, Italy’s Parliament approved a mandatory if controversial course of ten vaccines to be given children through the age of 16 years — for which parents must produce proof in order to enroll kids in school, or face a fine of €500 (approximately $600) for noncompliance.
German officials did not prohibit refusing immunization, but did turn teachers into snitches and trepidatious parents into potential criminals by imposing inordinate fines of up to €2,500 (about $3,000) against those who refuse vaccine counseling from their doctors for their kindergarten-age children — as well as the requirement school administrators report offending parties to authorities.
France intends to deem 11 vaccines mandatory by next year — adding eight to the diphtheria, polio, and tetanus already required — although, as Vox notes, fines and penalties for violations aren’t yet clear. Notably, a survey last month found a telling three in ten people do not trust in vaccines — a figure growing by the day.
One drastic solution to the immunization debate — dubbed ‘No Jab No Pay’ — comes from the state of South Australia, where unvaccinated children would be barred from daycare and preschool, with massive fines of $30,000 ($24,000 U.S.) levied against schools allowing kids who aren’t inoculated to attend. Parents also lose social benefits.
Questions about the safety, efficacy, and possible long-term effects of immunizations in young children have spread faster than the epidemics vaccines prevent — particularly in the U.S., where a cleft divides the two inflexible stances, and neither seems keen on the slightest compromise.
Discussions pertaining to State-mandated vaccines on the horizon here send shivers up the necks of skeptics and a faction of the human rights movement. Social media frequently buzzes in condemnation of government-coerced anything, and choice-eliminating mandated inoculation — the prospect an administration of kleptocrats would violate the most personal of sovereignties — leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of proponents and detractors, alike.
“All 50 states currently have legislation requiring vaccines for students,” Vox reports, “but almost every state allows exemptions for people with religious beliefs against immunizations, and 18 states grant philosophical exemptions for those opposed to vaccines because of personal or moral beliefs. (The exceptions are Mississippi, California, and West Virginia, which have the strictest vaccine laws in the nation, allowing no philosophical or religious exemptions.)”
Severe though they may be, officials flaunt high rates of inoculation in those three states as a measure of success.
With the law-and-order Trump administration swiftly clamping down on dissent in any of its multitudinous forms — including refusing to vaccinate one’s progeny — it could be posited some incarnation of mandatory inoculations will likely visit the states quite soon. An epidemic could be brewing at any time.