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MGMT 480W Discussion Assignment

Discussion 4 – When Choice is the Dilemma

For this discussion, let’s visit a topic that is currently impacting us all. Vaccinations. Please take some time to read the background information, as it will help you to understand some of the complexities of this topic.


Recently, the US has experienced a slate of outbreaks rarely experienced in modern history. In the past few years, we have had significant outbreaks of measles, polio, Covid-19 (of course) and MPox. If you didn’t know, measles was declared “eradicated” in the US in the year 2000. What gives?

To read more about measles from the CDC, go here: to an external site.

Links to an external site.To read more about polio: to an external site. and mpox: to an external site.

Despite apparent control of measles due to vaccination, outbreaks continue, usually among unvaccinated populations in the US. Here’s a story of a measles outbreak in Minnesota a couple of years ago: Measles outbreak in Minnesota in unvaccinated childrenLinks to an external site.

What’s driving this? Medical experts have determined that the outbreak is the result of exposure and transmission in unvaccinated populations. Unvaccinated individuals fall into two categories: 1) children under the age of 1, who are not eligible to receive vaccinations until 1 year of birth; and 2) individuals whose parents have made a conscious choice not to vaccinate them as children.

The choice to not vaccinate children has been increasingly exercised by parents. Watching the news, one is seemingly provided with an explanation for this anti-vaccination trend. Newscast after newscast contains experts which state that the current anti-vaccination trend is the result of a discredited study published in 1998 (and further galvanized by Jenny McCarthy) which suggested that vaccines were related to autism.  To reassure the public, many experts state that the measles vaccines (and vaccines in general) are completely safe. There is a narrative that consists of labeling parents who choose not to vaccinate as “ignorant” and “irresponsible”. Article: No Immunity from Ignorance.Links to an external site.  Name-calling and labeling aside, there is enough factual informationLinks to an external site. and alarmismLinks to an external site. to go around.

Why doesn’t everyone want a vaccine?

In an effort to learn more, I found that the US Government has a program specifically designated to compensate children and families for harm and damages resulting from receiving vaccinations. In 1988, the US Department of Health and Human Services created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (Links to an external site.). The program provides compensation to people found to be injured by vaccines. (Interestingly, it serves as a “no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims” – meaning that it potentially alleviates the burden of vaccine maker corporations from being sued). None of the Covid vaccines are covered by this program.

Wait! Aren’t vaccines safe?

Well, yes…. And sometimes, no.

According to tables published on the Department of Health and Human Services website, vaccines can lead to injury or death. You can review the entire table here: HRSA Vaccine Injury Table (Links to an external site.)

Looking just at the measles (MMR) vaccine, potential injuries include

  • Anaphylactic shock
  • Encephalitis
  • Chronic Arthritis
  • Thrombocytopenic purpura (a blood disorder that leads to blood clots)
  • Measles
  • Death

A review of the Injury Compensation Statistics (Links to an external site.) shows the following:

  • In 2019, the program paid 653 awards exceeding $196,200,000 to victims of vaccination
  • In 2020, there were 734 awards and over $186,880,000 paid to victims.
  • Since 1988, a total of $4,144,133,047 (that’s 4 BILLION) has been paid to victims who have been directly harmed by vaccination.

Regarding the current Covid vaccines here is the injury data from the CDCLinks to an external site..nks to an external site.)

According to the CDC Covid Vaccine risks are rare, but they include:

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • Myocarditis and pericarditis
  • Death

So, there’s that. It’s interesting that in the vast majority of news reports that have covered this topic, not once did a reporter or expert mention the National Vaccine Injury Program. Perhaps this is to avoid a national panic. Perhaps there are other reasons. However, despite the almost conspiratorial existence of the program, a deeper look at the numbers provides additional insight. Since 2006, over 3.7 billion vaccines have been administered in the US, and 5,351 of those vaccinations have resulted in compensable injury. That results in an injury rate of 0.00014%. Of course, statistics are well and good, unless you are the statistical anomaly.

That brings us to our discussion topic.

Topic Question
Many people are starting to call for laws that mandate vaccination of children. The passage of such laws will effectively remove parental choice related to vaccinations.

Others are claiming that parents are in the best position to make choices regarding their children, and argue that parents should retain choice and discretion in this area.

Lawmakers are starting to dance around the topic, maintaining a noncommittal stance (and likely hoping that this whole thing will just go away).
There are certainly other stakeholders in this occurrence (namely, drug manufacturers) but during this current news cycle, they haven’t said a word. It should be pointed out that, vaccines are a potentially profitable business.Links to an external site.

What is your position on this topic? Do you believe that vaccines should be mandated by the government? If so, what are the ethical arguments to support that position? Do you believe that parents should retain choice and that the government should stay out of family medical decisions? If so, what are the ethical arguments supporting that position? For each position, also discuss the potential costs and impacts.
 (Links to an external site.)

There are many stakeholders in this scenario – individuals, families, businesses, entrepreneurs, employees, and society at large. Nearly everybody has a stake in this and we’ve all been impacted in some fashion during the pandemic. This topic explores the interplay between society, health, politics, and business. The goal is to explore how ethics is complex and has direct impact in our modern society.

NOTE: This is a potentially sensitive topic. Peers in this discussion may have been directly impacted during the pandemic or have experienced vaccine related impact in general. Be considerate in your approach. Let’s talk and learn.

Please list the links to the reference you use for this topic

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