In an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia, Professor Julie Leask from the University of Sydney Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery and colleagues from the Collaboration on Social Science in Immunisation, write that a range of issues must be considered before COVID-19 vaccine mandates are introduced.
“Because they are more coercive than other interventions to increase vaccination coverage, mandates demand stronger ethical justification,” writes Professor Leask and colleagues.
“Policy makers should balance rights of individuals and the promotion of public good whilst carefully considering the epidemiological, programmatic, and legal issues.”
The authors outlined the following prerequisites for a successful and fair mandate:
“Addressing these considerations in ways that consult with affected populations and keep the process fair means the outcomes are more likely to be trusted. Trust in governments remains crucial while we need people to keep up the other public health actions like testing and wearing masks,” Professor Leask and colleagues concluded.
“Mandates that are careful and responsive to context are more likely to avoid social harms while, ideally, helping to achieve a public good.”
Disclosure: Julie Leask and Kerrie Wiley have received a grant from NHMRC to study policy aspects of childhood vaccine refusal. Julie Leask sits on the Expert Advisory Group for the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and was a temporary unpaid advisor to the Vaxzevria (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca) Advisory Board.
Please refer to the paper for additional disclosures involving co-authors.