Injecting Big Brother

New Vaccines May Drug-Proof Kids

The vaccines also raise questions of privacy. "Once you're vaccinated, you have antibodies in your blood that would show up in a drug test," saysCohen. "The least controversial solution is universal vaccination: You wouldn't be stigmatizing any one group."

Yet mass vaccinations have always been controversial. "That's treating people like cattle," says Joe Lehman, a spokesman for the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. Lehman believes that there would be pressure to get an antidrug vaccine, especially when it comes to insurance companies (who might offer special premiums to the vaccinated) or employers (who in the age of mandatory drug testing have obvious motives). Though mass, forced vaccinations may be unlikely, a scenario in which individuals feel pressured to get the vaccine is no less chilling in its implications.

Civil libertarians, on both the left and right ends of the political spectrum, aren't the only ones concerned over universal vaccination. Critics of childhood vaccinations—alternative medicine advocates, concerned parents—are growing in number. The National Vaccine Information Center promotes parental awareness about vaccination risks and the right to refuse shots. Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the center, is outraged by the idea of antidrug vaccines. "To add a vaccine to the mix that doesn't fit into early-childhood diseases seems amazing," she says. "That we can get a vaccine to solve every social problem is short-term thinking."

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