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THW: make vaccinations against deadly diseases mandatory unless there is a medical exemption

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/17/2017 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 677 times Debate No: 101111
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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"THW": Abbreviation for "This house would", i.e. the motion being proposed.

"Deadly diseases": the suffering caused by any pathogen which has the potential to kill an individual infected by it. For the purposes of this debate, we will only consider deadly diseases which can conceivably be vaccinated against.

"Mandatory": compulsory, non-optional, a legal requirement.

"Medical exemption": a state of being unable to receive a vaccine for one's own safety, for instance, due to having an allergy to it.

Please use "she/her" pronouns for me. I will default to using "they/them" unless I am told otherwise.

R1: Acceptance, definitions, and pronoun introduction. No arguments may be presented, and judges should ignore any arguments which are presented.
R2: Main body of argument. Con's initial refutation.
R3: Refutation and summary. No new arguments may be presented, and judges should ignore any arguments which are presented that have not previously been raised.

I would like to wish my opponent the best of luck.


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


When I was seventeen, I contracted whooping cough. I spent months unable to exercise properly, and sometimes couldn't sleep because of the coughing. Had I been a young child, or very elderly, or immuno-compromised, I could well have died.

I couldn't have the whooping cough vaccine as a child because I was allergic to it. There are many more people like me out there- whose health, and often even their lives, are dependent on herd immunity. Herd immunity is the phenomenon where if a high enough proportion of a population is protected against a disease, the disease can't spread to those members of the population who are not protected because there aren't enough vectors (i.e., people who are infected with the disease and who are spreading it) to transmit it to them.

However, the modern anti-vaccine movement has lead to a number of people failing to vaccinate their children against deadly diseases. This has not only put the lives of their children at risk, but also the lives of those who depend on herd immunity to protect them. This is not safe. It should not be allowed. In any other circumstance in which you endanger the life of your own child or of the public at large, you would immediately be charged with reckless endangerment and/or child neglect.

The only reasonable opposition I can imagine to mandatory vaccinations against deadly diseases is the possibility of someone being unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, and hence the motion has accounted for those circumstances.

So, in short:

1) Vaccines are safe, unless one is allergic or has some other medical condition. If one has such a condition, they would not be harmed by the motion as it makes an exception for them.
2) Otherwise, vaccines are only a good thing- they save both the lives of those getting the vaccines and of those who cannot be vaccinated, and the latter is saved by herd immunity.
3) It is not acceptable to endanger the health or the life of your own child or the public at large.

Hence, I urge my opponent to reconsider their position and the audience to vote in favour of the motion.


I'm sorry to hear about your contraction of whooping cough, what a teribble thing to have to endure. My heart goes out to those who cannot get vaccinations because of an allergy. I agree with my opponent that vaccinations are safe and effective, and I think that people who resist vaccinations, do so out of an irrational fear, not out of factual reasoning. But this argument is not about the effectiveness of vaccines, it's about a vaccination mandate.

*It will not legitimize the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations, for antivaxers!
Fear of vaccination, boils down to science denial, it is an irrational fear. However irrational it is though, it is a fear! Forcing anybody to take something that they have a fear of, is not ethical and would be cruel. It is the responsibility of the medical, and science community to reverse the disinformation that antivaxers believe in. Forcing antivaxers to get vaccinated would be a government overeach, and would only strenghten the fears of antivaxers. Some people don't get vaccinated because of a religious belief, it would be equally cruel to forcibly vaccinate people who's religious beliefs are against vaccinations.

*Mandatory vaccinations would be impossible to enforce!
What method would we use to punnish people who don't get vaccinated? Barring antivaxers from being allowed in public places, would be grossly unconstitutional and impossible to enforce. Allowing possible prosecution for antivaxers if thier sickness causes a pandemic, would also be problematic, because we may not ever find the true source of the sickness, therefore no one person could be found to be at fault.
Debate Round No. 2


I'm glad to hear that my opponent agrees that vaccines are safe and effective.

My opponent's points seem to be as follows:

1) Making vaccines mandatory will not convince antivaxers of the safety of vaccines.

2) It is cruel to force someone to take something they get, even if it is good for them.

3) It could not be enforced.

In response:

1) The point of this motion was never to convince antivaxers of the safety of vaccines (although of course such a goal is desirable). The point is to protect the health of those who cannot be vaccinated and of children whose parents are negligent by failing to vaccinate them.

2) Though it is preferable not to have to force someone through a moment of discomfort for their own health, their children's health, or the health of those around them, it is a so-called "necessary evil"; the alternative is to risk the health of that individual or of others. People have died- and will continue to die- as a result of antivaxers' reckless negligence and it should be made illegal to fail to vaccinate oneself and one's children as a result.
Sometimes it is necessary to violate the consent of someone for the health of that person or those around them- we recognise, for instance, that it is necessary to force-feed someone with severe anorexia in order to protect them from starving themselves to death, or to place someone with an infection disease in quarantine in order to prevent them from infecting others. It is in a similar way that we must force people to vaccinate themselves and their children, even if they (falsely) believe that vaccines are harmful- there just simply isn't time to convince them- people are dying- and we will never be able to convince them all.

3) Though I recognise it would be impossible to identify- and therefore charge- the individual responsible for an outbreak, it would be considerably more practical to check everyone's medical records and to ensure everyone has had their vaccine, and to apply some kind of statutory penalty like a fine until they have had them. My opponent mentioned that this would be "unconstitutional", but:

1. This is a debate on an international forum, so the US constitution needn't apply; I'm speaking from the UK.

2. So, of we must obey the US constitution, then part of this motion would be to amend the US constitution such that a vaccine mandate is allowed.

3. People are still dying. We should therefore apply the "Quod Est Necassarium Est Licitum" principle (that which is necessary is legal*).

So, to summarise my case:

Making vaccines mandatory is necessary in order to save lives; vaccines are safe and effective, and do save lives both of those who are vaccinated and if those who cannot be vaccinated through herd immunity.
Saving lives with a mandate in vaccines makes such a mandate necessary, and overrides the (false and irrational) fears of antivaxers, and any constitutional concerns.



I didn't realize my opponent was speaking from a different country when I questioned the constitutionality of a vaccine mandate, but I must point out that my opponent inadvertently pointed out how unenforceable a vaccination mandate would be. If the UK imposed a vaccination mandate and the US did not, then the only way for the UK vaccination mandate to be effective would be to bar any citizens from the US to enter. In fact, they would have to bar any citizen from any country that doesn't have a vaccine mandate, because those tourists could potentially cause an outbreak. What my opponent is proposing would only be effective on a global scale. That's not an enforceable proposal.

It would have been nice for my opponent to show just how many people actually get sick and die as a result of low vaccination rates, but my opponent failed to do. My opponents argument is just a knee jerk reaction to an issue that calls for a little more imagination and depth. It is disheartening to see the science community just sit and watch as a wave of ignorance washes over our society. It is the responsibility of the medical community to prove to the public that vaccinations are safe and effective, and what the inevitable consequence will be if people continue to oppose vaccinations. Instead of just another mandate that impedes our freedom of choice, I propose we let education rain supreme and keep our rights intact.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Smooosh 3 years ago
I forgot to thank my opponent for an interesting debate. Good luck!
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