American Journal of Bioethics 20 (9):45-57 (2020)

Heidi Malm
Loyola University, Chicago
Mark Christopher Navin
Oakland University
Some societies tolerate or encourage high levels of chickenpox infection among children to reduce rates of shingles among older adults. This tradeoff is unethical. The varicella zoster virus (VZV) causes both chickenpox and shingles. After people recover from chickenpox, VZV remains in their nerve cells. If their immune systems become unable to suppress the virus, they develop shingles. According to the Exogenous Boosting Hypothesis (EBH), a person’s ability to keep VZV suppressed can be ‘boosted’ through exposure to active chickenpox infections. We argue that even if this hypothesis were true, immunization policies that discourage routine childhood varicella vaccination in order to prevent shingles for other people are unethical. Such policies harm children and treat them as mere means for the benefit of others, and are inconsistent with how parents should treat their children and physicians should treat their patients. These policies also seem incompatible with institutional transparency.
Keywords immunization ethics  vaccine ethics  intergenerational justice  children's rights
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/15265161.2020.1795528
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,291
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Null. Null - 2016 - Philosophy Study 6 (9).
Mandatory Vaccination: An Unqualified Defence.Roland Pierik - 2018 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 35 (2):381-398.

View all 17 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Divergent Platforms.Sophie Bade - 2016 - Theory and Decision 80 (4):561-580.
How to Hold an Ethical Pox Party.Euzebiusz Jamrozik - 2017 - Journal of Medical Ethics:medethics-2017-104336.
Csgo Boosting.Rick Balboa - 2017 - Csgo Bososting 1 (5):55-89.
Collective Responsibility for Historic Injustices.Janna Thompson - 2006 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 30 (1):154–167.
From Historical to Enduring Injustice.Jeff Spinner-Halev - 2007 - Political Theory 35 (5):574-597.
Against Supersession.Douglas Sanderson - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 24 (1):155-182.


Added to PP index

Total views
12 ( #789,318 of 2,456,045 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #98,395 of 2,456,045 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes