For the ECHR, compulsory vaccination against serious diseases is legitimate

While all families in France and undoubtedly in Europe and elsewhere are debating whether or not to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the decision rendered Thursday, April 8 by the European Court of Human Rights man (CEDH) will not go unnoticed. “When it appears that a voluntary vaccination policy is insufficient to obtain and maintain group immunity (…), national authorities can reasonably establish a compulsory vaccination policy in order to achieve an appropriate level of protection against serious diseases ”, we read in the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the Court of Strasbourg.

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This decision may well be completely decorrelated from the current pandemic, it falls, thanks to the secrets of the slowness of European justice, at the peak. The ECHR settled a case brought before it in 2013 and 2015 by parents who considered that the compulsory vaccination of children imposed by the Czech Republic violated the European Convention on Human Rights in its article 8 guaranteeing the “Right to respect for private and family life”. One of the plaintiffs had been fined and others had seen access to kindergarten refused to their child for not having them vaccinated. These are vaccines similar to those which are compulsory in France (tetanus, measles, polio, etc.).

The Strasbourg judges readily recognize that compulsory vaccination “As an involuntary medical intervention” constitutes an interference with the exercise of the right to private life. But they consider it legitimate and proportionate with regard to the objective sought. In this there is no violation of the Convention.

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The ECHR, according to whom “Public health issues fall within the margin of appreciation of the national authorities”, even specifies about the compulsory nature of vaccination of children that “This margin must be wide”. It also underlines the existence of a “General consensus (…) which amounts to considering that vaccination is one of the most effective and cost-effective medical interventions and that each state should strive to achieve the highest possible vaccination rate among its population “. However, each State remains free to choose the modalities (recommendation or obligation) of its vaccination policy.

Mandatory character to be put into perspective

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