A GROUP of academics have published a paper exploring whether the government could make a COVID vaccine compulsory. They suggest that such a step may be necessary.
They advise that COVID vaccination could be a condition of release from lockdown and related restrictions.
In a paper, that can be found on the Parliament website they write: “Our chief conclusion is that, as and when a vaccine becomes available at scale, the government should give serious consideration to compulsory immunisation as a means of reducing the impacts of COVID.”
The academics explore whether compulsory vaccination could be justified under current laws.
They note that both the Coronavirus Act 2020 and the Public Health Act 1984 do not authorise compulsory vaccination.
However, they compare compulsory vaccination to current laws that mean a mentally ill patient might have to take medicine against their will.
They highlight that if lockdown measures are compatible with human rights law, then compulsory vaccination may well be too.
Moreover, they doubt that compulsory vaccination would violate European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) law that bans torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.
According to the paper, mandatory vaccination might be interpreted as less of a burden on individuals than lockdown rules.
COVID vaccine on the horizon?
The academics from York and Oxford University work in the fields of philosophy and law. The group has specialisms in human rights law, health law and medical ethics.
Dr Lisa Forsberg, Dr Thomas Douglas, Dr Jonathan Pugh and Dr Isra Black do say there should be exceptions to mandatory vaccination if it takes place.
To preserve personal freedom, they suggest those willing to continue with lockdown or other similar measures could be exempt.
The researchers highlight that vaccination protects the wider community.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that communities should be at the centre of drives to increase vaccination.
You can read the paper in full here.
The Voice sent requests for comment to the Cabinet, York University and Oxford University’s press office.