Resolved: The US should make vaccines mandatory
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Resolved: That the US should make vaccines mandatory
Vaccinations: A biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins or one of its surface proteins. The agent stimulates the body's immune system to recognize the agent as foreign, destroy it, and "remember" it, so that the immune system can more easily recognize and destroy any of these microorganisms that it later encounters.
For more info on vaccines see here http://www.who.int/topics/vaccines/en/
Mandatory: required by law or rules; compulsory.
Ought: indicates moral desirability
1. No forfeits
2. Citations must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final speeches
4. Observe good sportsmanship and maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (challenging assumptions in the resolution)
7. For all undefined resolutional terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate
8. The BOP is evenly shared
9. Rebuttals of new points raised in an adversary's immediately preceding speech may be permissible at the judges' discretion even in the final round (debaters may debate their appropriateness)
10. 8000 characters maximum
11. Violation of any of these rules, or of any of the description's set-up, merits a loss
R1. Pro's Case; Con's Case
R2. Pro generic Rebuttal; Con generic Rebuttal
R3. Pro generic Rebuttal; Con generic Rebuttal
R4. Pro generic Rebuttal and Summary; Con generic Rebuttal and Summary
== Additional Information ==
The vaccines schedule and vaccines that this debate is refering to are the vaccines recommended by the CDC. (see here https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/vaccines-age.html). Obviously those who are medically unable to receive vaccines will be exempt.
Efficacious vaccines not only protect the immunized, but can also reduce disease among unimmunized individuals in the community through “indirect effects” or “herd protection”. Hib vaccine coverage of less than 70% in the Gambia was sufficient to eliminate Hib disease, with similar findings seen in Navajopopulations.29,30 Another example of herd protection is a measles outbreak among preschool-age children in the USA in which the attack rate decreased faster than coverage increased.31 Herd protection may also be conferred by vaccines against diarrhoeal diseases, as has been demonstrated for oral cholera vaccines.32“Herd protection” of the unvaccinated occurs when a sufficient proportion of the group is immune.33 The decline of disease incidence is greater than the proportion of individuals immunized because vaccination reduces the spread of an infectious agent by reducing the amount and/or duration of pathogen shedding by vaccinees,34retarding transmission. Herd protection as observed with OPV involves the additional mechanism of “contact immunization” – vaccine viruses infect more individuals than those administered vaccine.10
A Colorado study last year showed that children of parents who refuse vaccinations against whooping cough are 23 times more likely to develop the disease than children who get the shots. Moreover, those in the anti-vaccine movement who insist that their actions do not risk harm to anyone other than their own unvaccinated children ought to take a closer look at those five California deaths to pertussis.All five were infants younger than 3 months, too young to be fully vaccinated themselves, but terribly vulnerable to a highly contagious disease passed around by unvaccinated children.Let's be very clear about this: Parents who skip vaccines for their own children are endangering the health and lives of other kids. And none of their justifications for such a selfish, short-sighted act stand up to scrutiny. Some parents pretend that their children don't need to be vaccinated because their friends and classmates have been vaccinated, claiming that this "herd immunity" will protect them all.
The ease with which non-medical exemptions can typically be obtained has raised concerns among many that the benefits of widespread immunization are being compromised. Because of the nature of medical exemptions, unvaccinated persons in a community with only medical exemptions would be expected to be few and dispersed. Herd immunity can be attained, and protection is ensured for both the vaccinated majority and the unvaccinated few. Broadly granted philosophical and religious exemptions make herd immunity more difficult to attain and increase the risk to the community. This risk is exacerbated by the fact that many of those who apply for such exemptions “will cluster together in one geographic area.” This cluster effect tends to increase the likelihood of serious outbreaks:Recent studies have shown that clusters of exemptors, who are significantly more susceptible to contracting vaccine preventable illnesses, pose an increased risk of spread of diseases not only to their unimmunized peers, but also to the surrounding, largely vaccinated population.
When evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established. Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) are filed in VAERS. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event."
---A report to VAERS generally does not prove that the identified vaccine(s) caused the adverse event described. It only confirms that the reported event occurred sometime after vaccine was given. No proof that the event was caused by the vaccine is required in order for VAERS to accept the report. VAERS accepts all reports without judging whether the event was caused by the vaccine.
That leaves two options. One, Pro’s case has no enforcement. That leaves his case without any solvency; since issuing a mandate means absolutely nothing if no one has any incentive to adhere to it. Two, Pro’s mandate is enforced, at minimum, via fines and jail time. The poor would be fined for their inability to cover the costs of vaccinating, and then be jailed for not paying the fine. Pro is also turning every vaccine skeptic into federal criminals who will wield their imprisonment for civil disobedience. Parents are already being pushed away from the public school system and into protests due to far less daunting mandates. This will lead to wide-scale protests, overburdening the court and prison system for as long as the federal government continues to prosecute them, and additional sentences every time they missed their boosters or yearly flu shot. Pro’s case also doesn’t address shortages, like those seen with the flu vaccine year after year. With only the medical exemption left, anyone who gets to their flu shot too late would be prosecuted.
But let’s get into Pro’s arguments.
- In 2014 there were 2791 cases of hepatitis B resulting in over 500 deaths.
- In the same year there were 10,000 cases of chicken pox resulting in 4 deaths.
"We know that Washington state is a state with one of the highest percentages of religious and philosophical exemptions for vaccines in the country," he said. "It seems a reasonable conclusion that this death occurred because of inadequate immunization levels, but more epidemiological investigation will have to take place to find out."
Pro pretends to be acting on moral obligation but targets an inaction that by itself causes no harm to others.
On my case:
Loss of Freedom/Backlash
Pro concedes the inherent loss of freedom and drops all its impacts. Pro is forcing individuals who have strong fears of vaccination to receive said vaccinations, effectively invalidating their religious freedom. At minimum, this applies to 9% of the US population. That’s over 29 million people, all of whom are being told that their freedom of religion cannot be applied to their own bodies or those of their family. That population is far larger than all the epidemics Pro has cited, and the damage far deeper than any of these short-term illnesses is likely to cause.
Pro also drops consent. Everyone who gets vaccinated because of this mandate does so without consent. 16% of the population either thinks vaccines are safe or is unsure of their safety. That’s over 52 million people, all of whom lose their right to consent. Nothing destroys trust in the medical system so thoroughly than having basic decisions about your own body taken away. Pro also drops the story of Caryn Tabor where a vaccine was causing harm to a child and refused medical exemption. If not vaccinating is always child abuse, as Pro claims, then what would he call situations like this where vaccinating is causing clear and ignored harms? If anything, subjecting a child to this is far more abusive.
Taken together, this means that a huge swath of the population will justly feel that their rights have been violated. Pro concedes the points I made under backlash, and if harm to self, children and others is what makes something immoral, then the impacts of this point far outweigh any harm Pro ascribes to any lack of vaccination. The small protests that currently occur for local mandates will become massive, country-wide efforts, some of which may turn violent as many of these people believe the vaccines being forced on them are actively damaging them and their families. Those tens of millions of people will flee from their doctors, failing to seek treatment for a variety of diseases and increasing their spread. That includes diseases that aren’t vaccine preventable but are treatable, which Pro’s case does nothing to ameliorate. Those that do submit are far more likely to sue their providers, increasing the cost of care for everyone and decreasing access to that care as a result. Each illness will do more harm in Pro’s world, and many will spread far more easily.
Pro drops the first link on this point, which provides clinically-established incidence numbers for every vaccine that he is mandating, and therefore establishes that a portion of the population that is directly being harmed by vaccination. This means that many of the patients who seek lawsuits for damages will have convincing cases, costing the government and medical institutions tremendously in malpractice lawsuits. This supercharges my backlash impacts.
On Pro’s case:
Putting others at risk
Even with everyone taking every vaccine, diseases will still spread by bad behaviors. Pro is continuing to allow directly dangerous behaviors, revealing his willingness to allow people to put each other at risk. Clearly, he recognizes that some liberties matter more than doing everything possible to prevent disease outbreaks, so when he tells you that safety outweighs freedom when it comes to disease spread, he’s more than willing to cherry-pick applications of that principle.
Before this round, Pro never said that that only applied to a specific group (i.e. children going to school); all he said was that everyone must be vaccinated, with only a medical exemption available. Now, he wants to apply his case only to public school kids, automatically granting exemptions to others. He’s also providing a financial incentive to vaccinate. He never even suggested these planks before, and it is grossly unfair for Pro to be able to alter his case so late in this debate. Pro is trying to shift out of my arguments by presenting what is basically a brand-new case because he made a bad choice not clarifying in R1. I should also note that, in the rules, Pro states that both of our cases are confined to the opening round. Clarifying his case later is against the structure Pro himself established. Voters, hold Pro to his opening case and take a stand against this abuse.
If you buy that this tactic is abusive, extend both arguments: the pervasive damage to the doctor-patient relationship that will push many away from the health care system completely, as well as the massive jailing and court costs, both of which compound the backlash harms. Even if you’re considering Pro’s new case, it’s still subject to much the same backlash in the form of widespread protests and distrust of medical professionals.
Pro concedes this point, failing to challenge any of the costs I cited. Pro ignores the fact that that $2,194 figure only applies to child vaccines for families with insurance, so that number does not include what insurance covers, and will continue to increase rapidly as companies raise their prices due to the requirement to purchase them. Note that Pro’s case provides absolutely no recourse for people who cannot afford these costs (the financial incentive he talks about covers less than 1/17th of the lowest possible cost), so that means poor patients will have to pay for vaccination in place of necessities like food and housing. Pro admits that there is no recourse in status quo or in his case, and everyone is paying these costs, whereas comparatively few are seeking treatment of vaccinable diseases. Even if the overall cost is higher now, the government can afford those costs. The poor cannot.
However, make no mistake: costs are higher with Pro’s plan. Without secure housing and continuous access to food, the poor will suffer greater burdens of disease from exposure and malnutirion, costs the government will pay through ER visits. Also, the numerous costs of lawsuits and imprisonments, plus the costs of increasing vaccine production ($600 million per new facility ), will ensure that costs rise.
Herd Immunity/Disease Burden/Vaccine Effectiveness
Pro drops that the threshold for herd immunity for almost every disease Pro is vaccinating against is already met without any mandate. Pro also drops that states with mandates have similar rates of vaccination to many that don’t. Both points vastly undercut his solvency, since they suggest that a) people can and do voluntarily seek vaccinations, b) they do so in large enough numbers to obtain herd immunity to most diseases, and c) mandates do not necessarily result in substantial alterations to those numbers. Chickenpox exemplifies this, as even low levels of vaccination appear to impart herd immunity. Pro’s new plan further limits the effectiveness of his vaccinations, as parents may forge vaccination certificates, it makes home schooled kids and those attending private schools completely exempt, and provides no means to track boosters and adult vaccinations. All of this allows for the same pockets of the population to avoid vaccination, perpetuating the very problems he aims to solve.
Even if none of this factors in, Pro concedes that we cannot reach herd immunity with diseases that require above 90% vaccination rates. What diseases are these? Pertussis (whooping cough) and measles, the two diseases for which Pro keeps citing numbers. Without herd immunity, these outbreaks continue in Pro’s world, regardless of how effective the mandate is. Even Hepatitis B, the other disease Pro cites this round, appears to require 98% immunity to see effective protection. This makes Pro’s harms with these diseases non-unique – outbreaks continue in his world and those with weak immune systems remain vulnerable.