the ECHR considers compulsory vaccination “necessary in a democratic society”

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), seized by parents of children refused by nursery schools for lack of having been vaccinated in the Czech Republic, estimated Thursday April 8 that compulsory vaccination was “necessary in a democratic society», In a judgment of his supreme formation, the Grand Chamber.

«This stop confirms the possibility of a compulsory vaccination under conditions in the current Covid-19 epidemic», Commented Nicolas Hervieu, lawyer specializing in the ECHR. The lawyer, who teaches at Sciences Po Paris, underlines “the margin of appreciation left by the court to states in their vaccination policy“. Nicolas Hervieu also notes that the decision of the ECHR makes “the finding of a general consensus on the beneficial effects of vaccination which are not called into question by the inevitable side effects, as long as there is strict scientific control“. And the court, he continues, endorses “the principle of social solidarity which can justify imposing vaccination on everyone, even those who feel less threatened by the disease, when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable people».

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In its judgment, the ECHR considers that the compulsory vaccination of children in the Czech Republic against nine diseases (diphtheria, tetanus, polio, etc.) does not constitute a violation of the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights on “right to privacy». «The vaccination policy pursues the legitimate objectives of protecting the health and the rights of others, in that it protects both those who receive the vaccines in question and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.», She emphasizes. The latter, notes the court, are “dependent on collective immunity to protect against the serious contagious diseases involved“. The Czech Republic “therefore enjoys a wide margin of appreciation in this context“, Continues the Grand Chamber of the court, whose decisions can not be appealed, considering that”the best interests of children must come first in all decisions that affect them“. Thus, in the present case, if “the non-admission of the applicant children to nursery school meant for them the loss of a crucial opportunity to develop their personality“, The”was a preventive rather than a punitive measure whose effects were limited in time“, Judges the ECHR.


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