Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type




First Advisor

Edward Glowienka

Second Advisor

Mark Smillie

Third Advisor

Jennifer Lowell


Vaccines have shown to be one of modern medicine’s greatest achievements due to their effectiveness in either greatly limiting or eradicating the spread of many infectious diseases. Vaccines work best to prevent against the spread of disease when the threshold for that vaccine has been met, a phenomenon known as community immunity. This immunity can be met in only one way, through individual immunizations. Knowing these facts, I explain how it is a moral obligation to the community to vaccinate our children and ourselves. My claim for this sense of a moral obligation to our community is supported fully by the logic of a rule utilitarian consequentialist. I will also explain how the logic of Rawls’ principles of justice can lead to the same conclusion, even though Rawls is a known critic of utilitarianism. I hope that the outcome of this paper leads others to believe that vaccinations are an obligation in addition to our desire to increase the well-being of not only ourselves, but also for others.