Are vaccines required for public school


Vaccinations: between duty and freedom

Which is more important: the free choice of vaccination or a public health strategy that protects even the most vulnerable from infectious diseases?

In most countries there is no compulsory vaccination; Instead, the authorities give preference to vaccination recommendations and inform the public about the dangers of infectious diseases. If more and more people do not get vaccinated, does the state have the right to intervene and introduce compulsory vaccination? How far does citizens' freedom of choice extend when it is not only about their own health, but also about the health of their fellow citizens? And to what extent can the state intervene on issues that affect the private lives of citizens? The problem is current. France, Italy and some eastern countries have introduced compulsory vaccination to improve vaccination coverage and contain the spread of certain infectious diseases. Children are not admitted to school without certain vaccinations. In Switzerland, too, the debate comes up again with every new measles epidemic.

Fear and security

It's a vicious circle: when a disease spreads within a population, people are scared and everyone runs to protect themselves with a vaccination. The subsequent lower spread of the germ of the disease, which is achieved thanks to a high vaccination rate, makes us forget the danger of this disease and we believe that the vaccination is no longer useful. During this phase, the vaccination coverage of the population is lower and the state is launching new information campaigns in view of the increased risk of diseases that were believed to have been defeated. When information is insufficient, some states "oblige" people to get vaccinated. This choice arises from the fact that vaccination is both an individual act and a public health issue. Of course nobody is vaccinated by force! Obligation usually means that not vaccinating comes with the loss of certain benefits (like being able to go to daycare or free public school).

Public health

The concept of “public health” certainly speaks in favor of this obligation. The commitment is not just a compulsion, it is also a strong message: remember that vaccinations are very important to us, to our children and to society at large. When the state makes an act mandatory, it means that the act is fundamental. For example, it is mandatory to stop at a red light so as not to endanger your own life and the lives of others. In the area of ​​vaccination, however, things are not that simple. Injecting a substance into a healthy body is perceived differently than taking an aspirin for a fever or stopping at a red light. Experts know that when a scientific topic becomes a topic of discussion, elements that go beyond the rational are immediately incorporated. Imaginary perceptions, different cultures and beliefs are just as important as scientific data. They cannot be wiped off the table with a simple information campaign.

Coercion or responsibility

In other words, the public's knowledge and decisions always result from a complex web of prejudices, imaginary perceptions and real data. Because of this, vaccination has a hard time finding its way out of this tortuous labyrinth. The arguments against compulsory vaccination are based on this, and the facts confirm the theory: In Italy and France, compulsory vaccination radicalized the opposing positions and encouraged new protest arguments. At the same time, however, vaccination rates are increasing - which shows a change of opinion among those who hesitated and then decided to vaccinate.

In Switzerland there is currently no obligation to be vaccinated. The authorities have opted for the ethical principle of self-determination and are aware that this gives citizens greater freedom of choice and more responsibility. Beyond the lively discussions, perhaps the following is more interesting: The vaccination coverage is not much higher in the countries where citizens are required to be vaccinated than in our country. As far as possible, it seems solidarity responsibility of every citizen to be the better argument in a climate of trust and transparency