To reach herd immunity, experts generally estimate that we’ll need to vaccinate at least 70 to 80 percent of the population — though it could be more or less, because we don’t really know for sure with a new virus. Yet according to a recent AP-NORC survey, 32 percent of Americans say they definitely or probably won’t get a Covid-19 vaccine. If that holds and the herd immunity estimates are correct, it would make herd immunity impossible.

I am not interest in arguments about personal preference, or individual freedoms. Get vaccinated unless you are medically unable to. That is the only valid reason.

US courts almost always deferred to public health authorities that have deprived individuals of their liberty in the name of public health. One US state high court declared at the beginning of the twentieth century that, “[i]t is unquestionable that the legislature can confer police powers upon public officers for the protection of the public health. The maxim Salus populi suprema lex is the law of all courts in all countries. The individual right sinks in the necessity to provide for the public good” (Parmet, 1985). Even more remarkably, a plenary grant of authority was still found to be constitutional in the 1960s. In upholding the detention of a person with tuberculosis pursuant to a statute that provided virtually no procedural protections, a California appellate court declared in 1966 that, “[h]ealth regulations enacted by the state under its police power and providing even drastic measures for the elimination of disease…in a general way are not affected by constitutional provisions, either of the state or national government.”

Bayer, Ronald. “The continuing tensions between individual rights and public health. Talking Point on public health versus civil liberties.” EMBO reports vol. 8,12 (2007): 1099-103. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7401134