This book talk is co-organised with the Oxford Martin Programme on Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease
Vaccination raises ethical issues about the responsibilities of individuals, communities, and states in preventing serious and potentially life-threatening infectious diseases. Such responsibilities are typically taken to be about minimising risks for those who are vaccinated and for those around them. However, there are other ethical considerations that matter when defining the responsibilities of different actors with regard to vaccination. Such ethical considerations are not often given due considerations in the debate on vaccination ethics and policy.
Thus, in this talk Dr Alberto Giubilini aims at offering a defence of compulsory vaccination taking into account not only the importance of preventing the harms of infectious diseases, but also the value of fairness in the distribution of the burdens entailed by the obligation to protect people from infectious diseases. He will offer a philosophical account of the key notions involved in the ethical debate on vaccination, of the types of responsibilities involved, of the possible types of vaccination policies ranked from the least to the most restrictive, and of the reasons why compulsory vaccination is, from an ethical point of view, the best policy available, as it is the most likely to guarantee not only protection from infectious diseases, but also a fair distribution of the burdens and responsibilities involved.
About the speaker
Alberto Giubilini is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the Oxford Martin Programme on Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease. He has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Milan (2010), and prior to joining the Uehiro Centre he worked in Australia at Monash University, University of Melbourne and Charles Sturt University.
He has published on different topics in bioethics and philosophy, including the ethics of procreative choices, end of life decisions, organ donations, conscientious objection in healthcare, the concept of conscience, human enhancement, and the role of intuitions and of moral disgust in ethical arguments. He has published a book in Italian on the ethics of end of life decisions (Morals in the Time of Bioethics, Le Lettere 2011) and co-edited a book on The Ethics of Human Enhancement (Oxford University Press 2016) together with Julian Savulescu, Steve Clarke, Tony Coady and Sagar Sanyal. His most recent book is The Ethics of Vaccination and is available via Open Access by clicking here.
About the book
This open access book, The Ethics of Vaccination, discusses individual, collective, and institutional responsibilities with regard to vaccination from the perspective of philosophy and public health ethics. It addresses the issue of what it means for a collective to be morally responsible for the realisation of herd immunity and what the implications of collective responsibility are for individual and institutional responsibilities.
The first chapter introduces some key concepts in the vaccination debate, such as ‘herd immunity’, ‘public goods’, and ‘vaccine refusal’; and explains why failure to vaccinate raises certain ethical issues. The second chapter analyses, from a philosophical perspective, the relationship between individual, collective, and institutional responsibilities with regard to the realisation of herd immunity. The third chapter is about the principle of least restrictive alternative in public health ethics and its implications for vaccination policies. Finally, the fourth chapter presents an ethical argument for unqualified compulsory vaccination, i.e. for compulsory vaccination that does not allow for any conscientious objection.
The book would appeal to both philosophers interested in public health ethics and the general public interested in the philosophical underpinning of different arguments about our moral obligations with regard to vaccination.
Oxford Martin School,
University of Oxford