Mandating vaccination -- is it justified?
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"The answer is yes…and no. It depends... Personal and Public Obligations: Freedom from oppression, the right to choose, and self-determination are bedrock values upon which our country was founded. They are also central building blocks of patient autonomy that physicians are obligated to respect. But rights of autonomy are not without limits. As members of society, we are governed by rules and laws created to control behavior and protect all members, especially the most vulnerable. We live with an understanding that our freedoms must be proportionately tempered if there is a possibility that others could be harmed by the choices we make (or do not make) daily. The recent pandemic has created an environment of fear and we have found ourselves in an existential crisis as a society. In response to the surge of critically ill patients and growing scarcity of resources, many health care systems have been forced to shift guidance of their practices from primarily patient-centric to an ethics of public health, where the greatest good can be provided to the greatest number. In some areas, rationing of critical care resources and altered standards of care have been necessary to treat and save as many as possible, knowing all cannot be saved. In addition, public health officials have encouraged or required face masks, distancing, and social avoidance proportional to the severity of situation and risk in each locale.
Am j Hosp Med 2021 June;5(2):2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.24150/ajhm/2021.006
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