The European Court of Human Rights rendered a highly-awaited ruling on compulsory vaccine programs in the Czech Republic in April.
The judgement, Vavnicka v the Czech Republic, confirmed the compatibility of Czech rules imposing a general duty to vaccinate children against well-known diseases with the European Convention of Human Rights. The judgement set negative consequences for children and their parents in the case of non-compliance with the duty to vaccinate.
The case concerned the amended version of the Czech Public Health Protection Act and two Ministerial decrees implementing it which require all permanent residents to undergo a set of routine vaccinations. For children it requires vaccination against well-known infectious diseases as a requirement for nursery school admission and sets out fines for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.
The case involves a father and several children who, based on concerns for side effects, were not vaccinated. In the case of the father Mr Vavricka a fine was imposed for non-compliance with the vaccination duty. Mr Vavricka subsequently challenged the Czech vaccination policy.
The court stated that the case does not apply to Covid 19 but to the ‘standard and routine vaccination of children.’
Aoife Nolan, professor of human rights law at the University of Nottingham described the case as a ‘child right’s case’. Speaking to Al Jazeera she said: ‘It is positive to see the child applicants’ situation being addressed head-on by the court. It is undoubtedly what those concerned with the child’s right to health would have wanted.’
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