People who refuse vaccination for themselves and their children are free-riding off herd immunity. Anti-vaccination folks are taking advantage of the fact that most people around them have chosen the minimal risk of vaccination, thus acting as a firewall protecting them from disease. But if enough refuse, the firewall comes down and other people get hurt.
Oliver Wendell Holmes articulated a good libertarian principle when he said, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” Holmes’ observation is particularly salient in the case of whooping cough shots.
Infants cannot be vaccinated against whooping cough, so their protection against this dangerous disease depends upon the fact that most of the rest of us are immunized against it. Unfortunately, whooping cough incidence rates have been increasing along with the for their kids. The annual number of pertussis cases . Last year, the number of reported cases rose to 48,277, the highest number since 1955. Eighteen infants died of the disease in 2012, and who got it were hospitalized.