A physician takes his flu vaccine under protest


The Ayn Rand view of professional independence versus common standards in the context of flu vaccines (see Health care workers face firing over flu shots for a union perspective – not all opposition is on the right).

While others are more qualified than me to comment on the medical evidence (see Health Care Workers Have a Duty to Get VaccinatedMandate flu vaccines for health-care workers), from my perspective as a patient with lower immunity and who needs to be extra careful, I expect health professionals to reduce my risk by being vaccinated, washing hands and other precautions. I would not be comfortable being treated by Dr. McGuff.

Doctors are not just individuals, but are working with others, particularly patients. And all professionals have to comply with codes of conduct, regulations etc. Quote:

But even if it were true that healthcare workers were transmitting flu to patients and that vaccination could prevent this from happening, forcing a professional to do even that which is beneficial is profoundly immoral. Values can only exist when there is freedom of choice. As philosopher Harry Binswanger recently observed; “You cannot achieve anyone’s good by force, because values are objective. Values only exist if they are judged by the acting party as beneficial to him. No one can be forced to make a rational judgement. The only effect of the force is the destruction of the alleged beneficiary (and everyone else).”

This was probably expressed best by the philosopher Ayn Rand who stated: “A value which one is forced to accept at the price of surrendering one’s mind, is not a value to anyone; the forcibly mindless can neither judge nor choose nor value. An attempt to achieve the good by force is like an attempt to provide a man with a picture gallery at the price of cutting out his eyes.” So even if there were a benefit to be had from flu vaccination, it would be wrong to force us to have it. It is even worse when it is done with evidence to the contrary.

Freedom of choice is not unlimited when it can lead to harm to others.

A physician takes his flu vaccine under protest.


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