Given the ethical aspects of vaccination policies and current threats to public trust in vaccination, it is important that governments follow clear criteria for including new vaccines in a national programme. The Health Council of the Netherlands developed such a framework of criteria in 2007, and has been using this as basis for advisory reports about several vaccinations. However, general criteria alone offer insufficient ground and direction for thinking about what the state ought to do. In this paper, we present and defend two basic ethical principles that explain why certain vaccinations are the state's moral-political responsibility, and that may further guide decision-making about the content and character of immunisation programmes. First and foremost, the state is responsible for protecting the basic conditions for public health and societal life. Secondly, states are responsible for promoting and securing equal access to basic health care, which may also include certain vaccinations. We argue how these principles can find reasonable support from a broad variety of ethical and political views, and discuss several implications for vaccination policies.
- universal vaccination