So there was a measles outbreak at Disneyland.
I should start this post by saying, in the vain hope of heading off some small amount of the hate it will provoke, that my family were vaccinated on the standard schedule. We're conformists that way.
Put simply, no person has the right to threaten the safety of his community. Like drunken drivers, the unvaccinated pose an imminent danger to others. They pose a lethal threat to the most vulnerable: the immunocompromised, such as HIV or cancer patients, and infants who have yet to receive their vaccines. Anti-vaccine parents are turning their children into little walking time bombs. They ought to be charged for endangering their children and others.
This strikes me as not quite right. People with measles endanger the safety of others, be they infants, immunocompromised, or simply unlucky. Had Alex Berezow asserted a moral obligation on the part of the sick, or even the exposed, to quarantine themselves, he would have been on much firmer ground. But an unvaccinated child doesn't turn into a "walking time bomb" simply by turning a-year-and-a-day without a vaccine. Indeed, he doesn't turn into a "time bomb" at all; the metaphor fails because the disease doesn't spontaneously generate. If you get it, you got it from somebody who also has it.
People who elect to forgo vaccinations may be misguided, and indeed, the California outbreak ought to provoke anti-vaxxers to recalculate their priors (though perhaps not). But I don't believe they are any more evil than the year-less-a-day infants because I don't see them as any more vulnerable than those infants, any more likely to spread the disease than those infants. The exact same public health argument in favor of keeping the year-and-a-day child isolated from the rest of us applies to the year-less-a-day child. In fact, if everyone were vaccinated on the standard schedule, infants and immunocompromisees would still be at risk from each other.
It's odd, though, that for all the talk of jailing non-conformists, I suspect (admittedly without citation) that most of these outbreaks originate outside the U.S., especially in poor countries with much lower rates of vaccination and much higher probability of having their citizens here illegally. Yet nobody in the media wants to talk about the threat of our derelict border control and illegal immigrant policing poses to everyone, conformists and non-conformists alike.
Funny how that works.