While vaccination is considered compulsory for some diseases and recommended for others, people might refuse it for religious or non-religious reasons. According to the classification used in the United States, refusals can be made on medical, religious, and philosophical grounds, of which the latter two are often described as “conscientious reasons.” Due to “community immunity,” not every person must be vaccinated for vaccinations to be effective in suppressing wide-spread infection. However, every country must clearly demarcate between the acceptable and unacceptable grounds for refusing vaccination. Vaccination refusal stands at the intersection of biomedicine, bioethics, public health, religious studies, and related disciplines. The objective of this presentation is to outline the reasons that some individuals worldwide refuse to be vaccinated, with a focus on the aforementioned “conscientious reasons.” For this purpose, I conducted a literature search using the PubMed database. Approximately half of first authors in the retrieved articles belonged to institutions in the United States, but the geographical distribution of researches showed that vaccination refusal is a global phenomenon. Today, few major religious groups explicitly refuse vaccinations per se; sometimes, refusals on religious grounds are in part a consequence of the historical course of events. Certain arguments for religious refusals, such as those based on a repugnance for the use of components derived from aborted fetuses, can be avoided entirely through technological advances in the medical field. I present the categorization and characteristics of religious and non-religious vaccination refusal, with a view to situate conscience properly within healthcare.
Yutaka Kato, Ishikawa Prefectural Nursing University, Japan
Paper Information Conference: ACERP2018
Stream: Ethics - Medical Ethics
Added on Monday, April 9th, 2018
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