The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – the international body of which the European Court of Human Rights is a part (not to be confused with the EU, and of which Britain remains a member) – has passed a resolution that vaccines must not be mandatory and no one should suffer discrimination on account of not having been vaccinated.
7.3 with respect to ensuring high vaccine uptake:
7.3.1 ensure that citizens are informed that the vaccination is NOT mandatory and that no one is politically, socially, or otherwise pressured to get themselves vaccinated, if they do not wish to do so themselves;
7.3.2 ensure that no one is discriminated against for not having been vaccinated, due to possible health risks or not wanting to be vaccinated;
Council Of Europe: Vaccine Passports Trample Human Rights
While most of the resolution is a depressing regurgitation of Covid orthodoxy (“non-pharmaceutical interventions have helped slow down the spread of the virus”, “following the festive season, with its traditional indoor gatherings, infection rates will likely be very high in most member States”, “the vaccines will no doubt not be sufficient to bring down infection rates significantly this winter…
A semblance of ‘normal life’ will thus not be able to resume until mid to late 2021 at the earliest” “the Assembly urges member States to take early effective measures to counter misinformation, disinformation and hesitancy regarding COVID-19 vaccines”) this clear statement of the longstanding principle that medical treatment should be voluntary is welcome.
Unfortunately, some people have other ideas. Matthew Lynn in the Telegraph wrote a shocking article, arguing that “no jab, no job policy should be the law.”
There are lots of jobs where you can’t work from home, and plenty of factories and offices that will remain closed if people don’t get vaccinated.
Of course, no one should be forced to take the vaccine if they don’t want to.
But they have to accept it may limit their employment options. Businesses already face plenty of uncertainty without the additional anxiety of a blizzard of legal claims.
The solution is simple. Parliament should legislate for no jab, no job this week – and that way everyone will know where they stand and can start planning for the future…
Of course, no one should be forced to take the shot if they don’t want to.
There is an argument for mandatory vaccination, but it is a huge infringement of civil liberties, and we have probably seen enough of those in the past year to last a lifetime. People should be free to choose.
But that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be any consequences of their decision.
There are plenty of countries where you are only allowed in with a vaccination certificate, and it is up to you whether you want to travel there or not.
In the same way, anyone who prefers not to be vaccinated may have to accept it limits their employment opportunities. If they don’t like that, tough…
Parliament should pass a one-line bill this week making it clear that it is legal to discriminate on the grounds of whether a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, and that no claims on the grounds of unfair dismissal will be accepted.
That will settle the matter once and for all, and stop the employment lawyers and unions in their tracks.
Meanwhile, Germany’s vaccine committee has said that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should only be given to under-65s, stating there is “insufficient data to judge how effective the vaccination is above 65 years”.
This is a blow for the vaccine which is much cheaper and easier to store than others like Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, and which Britain is relying on heavily for its reopening strategy, meaning we need it to work among the most vulnerable. The European Medicines Agency’s decision is due later today.