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Mandate Vaccination with Care

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Mandate Vaccination with Care

Governments that are considering compulsory immunizations must avoid stoking anti-vaccine sentiment, argue Saad B. Omer, Cornelia Betsch and Julie Leask.


5 min read
5 take-aways
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What's inside?

Mandating vaccinations could make opposition more difficult to overcome – but there’s a better way.

Editorial Rating



  • Controversial
  • Scientific
  • Eye Opening


Mandated vaccination is a hot topic these days for governments around the world. This commentary does not dive into the controversy itself, so will best serve readers already familiar with arguments for and against vaccination. For policy makers and others pondering how to respond to the growing threat posed by unvaccinated children, the article provides a useful perspective on the current incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases, the status of laws and regulations aimed at boosting vaccination rates, and a look at possible unintended consequences of stricter mandates. The article also offers a path forward.


A growing number of people are getting infectious diseases that can be prevented by existing vaccines.

The number of measles cases worldwide is increasing each year. In the first four months of 2019, some 226,000 cases were diagnosed worldwide.

Other infectious diseases that can be prevented by existing vaccinations, such as whooping cough, are on the rise as well.

In response, some states and countries have mandated or are considering mandating vaccination.

Since outbreaks can be prevented with vaccinations, governments have proposed making exemptions harder ...

About the Authors

Saad B. Omer is the director of the Yale Institute for Global Health; professor of medicine (infectious diseases) at Yale School of Medicine; and professor of epidemiology of microbial diseases at Yale School of Public Health. Cornelia Betsch is professor of health communication at the University of Erfurt. Julie Leask is professor in the Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Sydney.

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