Some families don’t believe that the fact that their children go to school with other children gives the government the right to force them to take drugs related to sexually transmitted diseases. Many become more suspicious when they hear of terrible side effects that some appear to experience and observe the overlapping financial interests of state government and company behind the drug.
Mind you: If the government simply recommended the drug, there would be no problem. But as it is, dedicated families feel the need to become activists and testify in pursuit of legislation to return their freedom. On the other end are bureaucrats whose social concern is difficult to entangle from the pursuit of metrics:
Among her arguments against the “personal belief” exemption that some lawmakers are seeking: “The proposed legislation, if enacted, will potentially decrease our state’s vaccination coverage rates, putting people at risk … [especially] those who cannot be vaccinated″ for medical reasons. …
In one letter to the lawmakers, [Director of Health Nicole] Alexander-Scott wrote: “Most vaccine-preventable diseases are transmitted from person to person. When a sufficiently large proportion of individuals in a community are immunized, those persons serve as a protective barrier against transmission of the disease in the community thus indirectly protecting those who are not immunized … This phenomenon is referred to as ‘herd immunity.’”
Good of the government to have such concern about the “herd.” One doubts that Alexander-Scott highlighted the fact that Rhode Island’s HPV vaccination rate was already high, and that the mandate increased it almost not at all.
That is, acting of their own free will — not as herded cattle — Rhode Islanders were already doing what the government wanted. Knowing that, one can reasonably infer that making us do things is the point, establishing the principle that we have to go where they think we should.