Vaccines are a first defense against highly communicable diseases such as measles. For vaccines to protect the population, a vast majority must be vaccinated to maintain herd immunity. Vaccine hesitancy is delaying vaccination from the suggested schedule or refusing vaccination outright. The hesitance is commonly portrayed as a lack of knowledge or scientific literacy. But highly educated people are still just as likely to be hesitant. The basis of hesitance is likely ethically similar to that of vaccination. Understanding the methods of the vaccine hesitant will better inform attempts to persuade them. Individuals have an obligation to the community to aid herd immunity. The government has an obligation to its citizens to aid herd immunity. Mandatory vaccination is unlikely in the near future so other coercive methods must be used to convince the populace to comply with vaccination recommendations. Education is a just form of coercion that is already implemented by the medical establishment but must consider ways to improve positive interaction with hesitance.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2020


Michael W. Austin

Mentor Department Affiliation

History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars


History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Philosophy and Religion