Vaccine Mandates are Morally Permitted
Mill’s principle says that the only reasonable limit on freedom is the prevention of harms to others. What is the harm in refusing to take vaccines?
The way I see it there are a number of harms that are avoided by compelling others to take vaccines they do not want to take. One of them is that refusal to take vaccines gives the deadly virus that causes Covid-19 an increased opportunity to spread that it should not have. The longer the virus is allowed to circulate the more people can get infected, and seriously ill, or even die. The more people get vaccinated the better the chance is that the virus will be stopped in its tracks. Scientists have persuaded me that widespread vaccination is our best chance at stopping the virus. People who resist the vaccines are helping the virus to spread and infect others. This is a serious harm to others.
There is significant evidence that the virus can be spread by the vaccinated as well as the unvaccinated. If it were equally possible for either group to spread the virus there would be no reason for us to impose vaccines on others, on that basis since it would not make a difference to others. The chance of others catching Covid-19 would then be no higher or lower than Then a vaccine mandate would not justified on this basis at least. So far as I have learned the spread is greater by the unvaccinated so I think the case is still strong that imposing a vaccine on others against their will is permissible to avoid the greater harm to others.
As well, the longer the virus is allowed to circulate unchecked the greater the chances that the virus will evolve and develop new variants that are even more dangerous than the ones we have now. This can endanger not just us in the vicinity but actually people around the world. We are seeing this right now around the world with the spread of the new virus Omicron. We also saw it earlier with the evolution of the Delta variant. New variants might be available to evade the vaccines again putting other people at great risk of harm.
These are serious harms that people who refused to get vaccinated without a sound medical exemption are inflicting on others, so, in my opinion, the majority has the right to compel people to take the vaccine. I think the case for vaccine mandates is a strong one.