Ep. 77 A Debate on Vaccine Mandates

Dorit Reiss, PhD

Two distinguished guests join us to debate the issue of vaccine mandates.

Dorit Reiss is Professor of Law at UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, California.  She holds an undergraduate degree in Law and Political Science from the Faculty of Law at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a  PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.  She is a legal authority on the question of vaccines and vaccine mandates.  She has published numerous articles on this topic in a variety of law review journals and her expertise is recognized around the world.

Jonathan Howard, MD

Jonathan Howard is Assistant Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry at New York University Langone.  He is Director of the Neurology Service at Bellevue Hospital and Director of Clerkship Director for the Clinical Neurological Sciences at NYU.

Dorit and Jonathan have co-authored a book chapter entitled “The Anti-Vaccine Movement: A Litany of Fallacy and Errors,” in Pseudoscience: A Conspiracy Against Science.


Dorit Reiss, PhD Twitter and professional page

Jonathan Howard, MD Twitter and professional page


Jonathan Howard and Dorit Reiss. “The Anti-Vaccine Movement: A Litany of Fallacy and Errors” in Pseudoscience: The Conspiracy Against Science MIT Press, 2018

Orsoo, O et al.  Epidemiological characteristics and trends of a nationwide measles outbreak in Mongolia, 2015-2016. BMC Public Health, 2019  (open access)


Ep. 74 Can We Have a Reasonable Discussion About Vaccines (with guest Niran Al-Aqba)


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  1. Haseem on 05/08/2019 at 6:03 PM

    The more I learn about this vaccine debate the more I find the proponents of mandates deceptive. They’re inconsistent, stating that you need vaccines in public schools, but they waffle on other public places. If one doesn’t want a vaccine, they’ll just make it “difficult.” Mob tactics. They use euphemisms like mandate and law, perhaps throw in that the majority voted for the rulers that passed the law, but this is all special pleading chicanery. They don’t have the honesty to call what they advocate for what it is, which is violent coercion. Cops don’t bust down your door, but maybe one simply won’t be able to function in society. What’s next? Taking kids away from their parents? Maybe you shouldn’t have access to health insurance if you don’t want to vaccinate? Kids spend time together outside of school doing various activities; should unvaccinated children be barred from this as well?

    Not everyone has the resources to home school or send their kids to private school. In that situation, a vaccine can’t be seen as anything other than violent coercion. They like to get pedantic with the word violence, but who are they kidding? “For the public good” has been a favored tactic by totalitarians throughout history and I don’t see any reason to think differently in this case, especially with the abominable track record of the US govt.

    From a utilitarian standpoint, don’t immunosuppressed children pose the same threat to the public good? Are they censured? After all, they are a “risk.” They could potentially be a carrier of X disease. I genuinely don’t know. I’ve only read a little bit about the whole vaccine debate since the latest measles hysteria is getting people riled up, so maybe I’m wrong. However, these are the same euphemisms and arguments I see from authoritarians on other issues.

    • Loren Trager on 06/05/2019 at 8:13 PM

      You’re wrong and off base. Nobody is being persecuted for not wanting to vaccinate their kids- the people being punished by antivaxxers are their children, the kids who attend school with their children and the general public (especially the immunosuppressed, who don’t have a choice in being at risk for getting infections but antivaxxers have that choice). It’s selfish. You don’t need to defend a bunch of selfish Typhoid Maries.

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