Free rider problem

People who choose not to get vaccinations aren’t bad. But the story they tell themselves has dangerous side effects.

It took 200 years to eradicate smallpox, which couldn’t have been done without vaccinations. How quickly we forget that smallpox caused the death of 500 million people in the last century. Vaccinations are perhaps one of the greatest discoveries in medicine and remains the most effective method of preventing infectious diseases.

Yet, there have been many concerns raised about whether the benefits of vaccinations outweigh the cost. This is great. Because questions lead to more research and more testing and more discovery. But the problem we are seeing is people are ignoring the history, the science, the data while relying on celebrity gossip, science fiction, and biased reporting to make their decisions. This leads people down a road of picking your own truth. We are seeing a new epidemic – one that we don’t have a vaccination for – and that is free riding.

The free rider is someone who benefits from the collective, without making any contributions on their own. It’s contagious. We see it in economics, politics, communities, and government.

No one can excuse themselves from the responsibilities of being a citizen of the world. Anyone reading this has been blessed with opportunities, not guarantees. If you don’t show up, then someone else will have to pick up the slack in your stead. It’s draining. Don’t sit back and enjoy the ride. We need you and your contributions.