The Determination of 'Best Interests' in Relation to Childhood Vaccinations
Bioethics 2005 April; 19(2): 188-205
There are many different ethical arguments that might be advanced for and against childhood vaccinations. In this paper I will explore one particular argument that focuses on the idea that childhood vaccinations are justifiable because they are held to be in the best interests of a particular child. Two issues arise from this idea. The first issue is how best interests are to be determined in the case of childhood vaccinations. The second issue is what follows from this to justify potential interventions within the family in relation to such vaccinations. I argue that best interests must be characterised objectively in such situations and that this means that, in at least some cases, parental decision-making about vaccinating their children may be overridden.
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