For over a century, a foreign national seeking permission to immigrate to the U.S. could have her application for immigration denied on the ground that she suffers from a serious contagious disease. For just under two decades, a foreign national seeking permission to immigrate could also have her application denied on the ground that she has not been vaccinated against each of a list of vaccination-preventable diseases. Two recently developed moral justifications for the use of such “vaccination-related exclusion criteria” have focused on (a) the right and need of a society to prevent the spread of disease to others and (b) the public good of developing and protecting herd immunity. Herein I accept these two general justifications—especially as they are developed by Mark Navin—and explore their limits. In particular, with a focus on the recently developed vaccine against several strains of HPV, as well the short-lived requirement by the CDC that it, too, be required of prospective immigrants, I argue that neither of the two main justifications for the use of vaccination-related exclusion criteria support their use for diseases such as HPV (or even HIV), the transmission of which, unlike airborne diseases such as measles, pertussis and polio, is subject to a considerable degree of individual control.


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pp. 133-147
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