Re: poly: Immunization (was: libertarianism)

From: Damien R. Sullivan <>
Date: Tue Feb 17 1998 - 14:25:06 PST

Here are some twists: would private immunization have wiped out smallpox?

If I get a flu shot and no one else does, I'm protected from this
strain, but not from a mutant, and will have to get more flu shots. The
smaller the infected population, the less frequently new flus will arise.

If 10% of the population is unvaccinated, and spread around, they can
skip getting vaccinated because they're unlikely to get ill. Some of
them will get ill, and keep the disease alive (and possibly changing),
which imposes a continuing cost on the people who vaccinate themselves.
If the 10% bore the one time cost of getting vaccinated with everyone
else then no one would have to worry about the disease again.

Theoretically the majority could pay for the vaccinations of the
minority, but with our population the transaction costs of getting
committment (on both sides) might be high.

(Flu shots are pretty cheap, and the disease has animal reservoirs, so
the numbers may not come out right.)

(Currently suffering the lack of any cold vaccines.)

-xx- ROU Random Identity X-)

"If I were not a man of peace I'd coerce the three of you to quivering
jellyfish and get to the bottom of this."
  -- Julian May, _The Adversary_
Received on Tue Feb 17 22:30:15 1998

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