Vaccine Refusal Is Not Free Riding
Vaccine refusal is not a free rider problem. The claim that vaccine refusers are free riders is inconsistent with the beliefs and motivations of most vaccine refusers. This claim also inaccurately depicts the relationship between an individual’s immunization choice, their ability to enjoy the benefits of community protection, and the costs and benefits that individuals experience from immunization and community protection. Modeling vaccine refusers as free riders also likely distorts the ethical analysis of vaccine refusal and may lead to unsuccessful policy interventions.