Volume 59

Taking A Shot At Vaccine Hesitancy: Using Criminal Liability Within Research Regulations to Increase Trust in Vaccines

by Ryan Steinberg

Despite the overwhelming evidence that the Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective, as of March 16, 2022, more than eighteen percent of the vaccine-eligible American population remains unvaccinated. Vaccine skepticism, however, did not originate with the Covid-19 vaccine. The reasons provided by individuals hesitant or unwilling to get the Covid-19 vaccine fall well within a long history of vaccine resistance: life restraints, perception of benefit, perception of risk, uncertainty regarding the risks the vaccine poses, lack of trust in institutions, and fear of needles. This lack of trust in institutions is particularly interesting, with one study showing that 15% of unvaccinated individuals reported a lack of trust in institutions and another study showing that 27% of unvaccinated individuals reported a lack of trust in government.

This mistrust in institutions has many facets. Many do not trust how quickly the vaccines were made. Others express general misgivings with the government or large pharmaceutical companies. Given this prevailing hesitancy much institutional focus in dispelling these misgivings has focused on educational initiatives. But education alone cannot solve this issue. The overwhelming evidence of the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety, and the educational explanations to go along with it, already exist; yet, vaccine hesitancy has nonetheless persisted.

Despite this crisis of vaccine skepticism and mistrust for the vaccine-production industry, there has been little public focus on the actual laws that govern these institutions to ensure that they are engaging in safe and ethical vaccine-production. The failure to evaluate the current legal infrastructure represents a missed opportunity for identifying areas for improvement.

Read More

Subscribe to ACLR