COVID-19 vaccine refusal as unfair free-riding

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy (1):1-13 (2024)
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Abstract

Contributions to COVID-19 vaccination programmes promise valuable collective goods. They can support public and individual health by creating herd immunity and taking the pressure off overwhelmed public health services; support freedom of movement by enabling governments to remove restrictive lockdown policies; and improve economic and social well-being by allowing businesses, schools, and other essential public services to re-open. The vaccinated can contribute to the production of these goods. The unvaccinated, who benefit from, but who do not contribute to these goods can be morally criticised as free-riders. In this paper defends the claim that in the case of COVID-19, the unvaccinated are unfair free-riders. I defend the claim against two objections. First, that they are not unfair free-riders because they lack the subjective attitudes and intentions of free-riders; second, that although the unvaccinated may be free-riders, their free-riding is not unfair.

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Author's Profile

Joshua Kelsall
University of Warwick

Citations of this work

Two Kinds of Vaccine Hesitancy.Joshua Kelsall & Tom Sorell - 2024 - Social Epistemology:1-16.

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References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
Inequality Reexamined.Amartya Sen - 1927 - Oxford University Press UK.

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