Health and Human Rights Journal

STUDENT ESSAY: Is Compulsory COVID-19 Vaccination a Violation of Human Rights?

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK Government passed the Coronavirus Act 2020 (CA), which implemented a number of emergency powers, allowing public officials to take action in specific situations in order to contain and slow down the spread of the virus as well as ease the burden on frontline staff. [1] Examples of these emergency powers include: the capability for public officials to test, isolate, and detain a person where they have reasonable grounds to think that the person is infected; restrict or prohibit gatherings or events; and require the temporary closure of a school or registered childcare provider. [2]

In its efforts to support the public health benefit, the CA has arguably led to interference with individuals’ right to liberty under Article 5(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). [3] Pugh’s 2020 article on the CA discusses how individuals may be deprived of their liberty to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, if that deprivation is “necessary and proportionate” and is in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law. [4] Pugh refers to this as “the public health exception”. [5] The importance of this approach directly relates to the consideration of a compulsory COVID-19 vaccine, specifically whether limitations on specific rights can be justified.

This essay analyzes whether a compulsory COVID-19 vaccine would be a violation of human rights law in the UK. For a comprehensive understanding of the implications of this topic, I provide background information and discuss perspectives regarding compulsory vaccinations in general. This discussion is followed by an outline of the specific rights under the ECHR that may be affected if a compulsory vaccination was to be implemented in the UK. I then discuss various interpretations of the elements required for state interference upon these rights and expand on them in regard to their application to compulsory vaccination. Through this analysis, it is concluded that a compulsory COVID-19 vaccination would not be a violation of human rights in the UK if the government sets out explicit parameters whereby a compulsory vaccination would be “necessary and proportionate” in the interests of health and safety, and if it was to ensure that the state is fulfilling its positive obligation to protect the right to life. [6]

Background on vaccinations and vaccine hesitancy

The topic of vaccination has been vastly studied across the world, affirming that high rates of vaccination coverage in childhood are important in preventing infectious diseases and contributing to a decline in mortality. [7] Despite the fact that vaccinations have proven to decrease rates of common childhood diseases and in some cases result in the complete termination of diseases, there is a rising trend of parents refusing to vaccinate their children. [8] This trend is commonly referred to as the anti-vaccination movement or Anti-Vaxx. The basis for these views revolves around arguments that vaccinations cause sickness, use unethical practices, and overall hold a lot of uncertainty, which causes hesitancy. [9] In addition, wide use of social media has allowed the Anti-Vaxx trend to become more widespread, and in a number of cases has led to vaccination rates dropping below the levels needed for herd immunity. Herd immunity occurs when a high enough percentage of the population is vaccinated that there are then too few people available to become hosts, so transmission of the disease or virus stops. [10] One of the most important characteristics of herd immunity is that it not only protects those who receive vaccination, but helps to protect individuals who are not vaccinated for whatever reason. [11]

Looking further into vaccine hesitancy, Kestenbaum and Feester identified some of the common factors contributing to this trend, including knowledge and information sources, experience or lack of experience with vaccine-preventable diseases, the role of recommendations by health professionals, social norms, and parental responsibility, trust, and religious beliefs. [12] They found many factors contribute to this trend, with uncertainty and the rapid transfer of information leading to the refusal of vaccination by families and individuals. The rise in the Anti-Vaxx movement has been shown to significantly impair health protection. A number of studies found that from 2006-2011, decreases in MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccination rates in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, and the United States, had a direct correlation with measles outbreaks in those areas. [13] In response to these changes, both Italy and France passed legislation that made specific vaccinations, including MMR, compulsory for children. [14]

Religious beliefs and conscientious objection, which would fall under Article 9 of the ECHR, also contribute to decisions not to vaccinate. [15] There are a number of governments that have implemented compulsory vaccination for children in public and private schools, as well as childcare centres. In conjunction with these policies, governments allow for exemption from vaccination on medical and non-medical grounds. In this context, the non-medical grounds often relate to religion and conscientious objection. But religion has not been found to contribute much to decisions not to vaccinate. A North American study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatricians found that over 70% of 512 doctors who had patients who had refused vaccines, claimed that parents had denied vaccination for their children because they felt the vaccine was unnecessary. [16] In addition, the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre states that “most religions have no prohibition against vaccinations” but the two common objecting religions are ‘Christian Scientists’ and ‘Dutch Reformed Congregations’. [17] These studies suggest that in the United States most non-medical exemptions fall under the category of conscientious objection rather than religion and that this trend is one of the primary reasons why some US jurisdictions have chosen to ban non-medical exemptions for compulsory vaccinations. [18]

State obligations under ECHR and compulsory vaccination

Regarding the potential implementation of a compulsory vaccination, the primary source of law to be considered is the ECHR, which was incorporated into UK law through the Human Rights Act 1998. [19] Article 2 of the ECHR concerning the right to life is of upmost importance in this context as it places positive and negative obligations on the state. Interpretation of this Article is summarized by the ECtHR in L.C.B. v The United Kingdom (1998), stating that “the state must not only refrain from the intentional and unlawful taking of life, but also take appropriate steps to safeguard the lives of those within its jurisdiction.” [20] Specifically regarding the positive obligation, states have a “primary duty to put in place a legislative and administrative framework designed to provide effective deterrence against threats to the right to life.” [21] As suggested by Camilleri, the positive obligation deriving from Article 2 may lead to claims that, in the context of a public health emergency, a vaccine should be made mandatory for those who are able to receive it, in order to protect those who rely on herd immunity for protection against such diseases. [22] However, when considering a narrower compulsory vaccination claim, the case of Calvelli and Ciglio (2002) is highly relevant as the court applied the positive obligation principle of Article 2 specifically to “the public health sphere”, stating that the obligation “requires states to make regulations compelling hospitals, whether public or private, to adopt appropriate measures for the protection of their patients’ lives.” [23]

This concept is demonstrated through a number of examples where the MMR vaccine, among others, has been made a legal requirement for healthcare professionals. Countries such as Canada, Australia, and several Caribbean countries, as well as some countries in Europe, have polices whereby certain vaccinations are a requirement by law for those directly in the healthcare sector, one of them being the UK. [24] In addition, there are a number of governments that have adopted similar policies with specific focus on the education sector. For example, in Italy, France, three provinces of Canada, as well as the United States, there is a requirement for children to be vaccinated in order to attend public or private schools. [25] An important element of this requirement is that they allow for medical, religious, and philosophical exemptions, aside from Mississippi, West Virginia, and California, which now only allow for medical exemptions. [26] In countries such as Australia, although vaccinations for children are not mandatory, the government offers financial incentives to have their children vaccinated. This is through non-taxable payments for each child who meets the requirements for immunization. [27]

One of the key outcomes of the implementation of these mandatory vaccination policies is that the government has not only taken positive action to protect the right to life of individuals within their jurisdiction, but they have ensured that individuals who rely on herd immunity are able to fully enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms the same way every other individual is able to, without putting their own lives at risk.

State interference and limitations on rights

From a public health perspective, a compulsory vaccination would be beneficial and it is clear that states have an obligation to protect the life of those within its jurisdiction. However, consideration should be given as to whether forcing individuals to receive a vaccination would interfere with any of their rights, and if so, would such an interference be lawful in the circumstances. Camilleri brings forward two specific ECHR articles with which compulsory vaccination would likely interfere: (i) Article 8-right to respect for private and family life, and (ii) Article 9-freedom of thought, conscience and religion. [28] The primary argument behind a violation of these rights relates to the idea that individuals should have reasonable control over the actions in which they partake, particularly when it considers an individual’s human body. As we can see in the case of Herczegfalvy (1992), the forceful administration of food was considered under Article 8, but was held to be compatible with respect for the claimant’s private life, as medical treatment was a necessity under the principles of psychiatry at that time. [29] Although the claimant was unsuccessful in this element, the violation would have been deemed unlawful if the court found that it was either not necessary, proportionate, or for a legitimate aim.

Regarding Article 8 specifically, the state holds a primary negative obligation to ensure that public authorities do not interfere with individuals’ right to private and family life. [30] As confirmed in the case of Kroon and others (1994), private life includes both the physical and psychological integrity of the individual. [31] Therefore, the physical aspect of the individual is an important element which may be conflicted with if that individual is required to be vaccinated by law. That said, Article 8(2) sets out that a state may interfere with the enjoyment of this right in certain circumstances. Similarly, Article 9 follows an analogous provision where states have an obligation to not interfere unless specific criteria can be satisfied. The “Guide on Article 8 of the ECHR”, which is again similar to that of Article 9, says that for interference to be lawful, it must be: (1) in accordance with the law; (2) in the interests of national security, public safety, or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of the disorder of crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others; and (3) that such interference is necessary in a democratic society. [32]

Regarding the first element, the court has been consistent in ensuring that any interference with these rights by a public authority must be in accordance with the law. This requirement revolves around the rule of law, as an interference must not only comply with domestic law but should be equally enforced among all individuals and entities that fall under its jurisdiction. [33] An interpretation of this element is found in Silver and Others (1983), stating that the national law must be clear, foreseeable, and adequately accessible. [34] As mentioned in Piechowicz (2012) the clarity requirement relates to “the scope of discretion exercised by public authorities” which is to ensure that individuals are provided with a “minimum degree of protection” from the relevant authorities and the authorities are therefore working within the rule of law. [35]

The second element relates to the question of whether the interference is in line with a legitimate aim set out in paragraph 2 of the relevant Article. [36] The court has often shown that as long as the aim of the interference falls within one of the objects set out in the provision, they will not hesitate to confirm satisfaction of this requirement. This can be observed in S.A.S. v France (2014) , where the sensitive action of banning full face veils in public places did in fact serve a legitimate aim to ensure individuals can enjoy their right to live in spaces of socialization without having any barrier to social interaction. [37] That said, it would be fairly clear that a compulsory vaccination would work directly in line with an aim to protect the interests of public health and safety, as well as for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others through the effective implementation of herd immunity.

The third element is perhaps the most critical, as “necessary” is a requirement that relies heavily on the specific circumstances. In the case of Olssen v Sweden (1988), “necessary” was said to imply the existence of a pressing social need and that it must be proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued. [38] This is a direct understanding that was incorporated into the ECtHR’s “Guide on Article 8”. [39] An important interpretation of this element is again found in Piechowicz , where it is stated that although the respondent state in the case must “demonstrate the existence of a pressing social need behind the interference”, it is the court who must consider the margin of appreciation left to the state authorities. [40] This margin of appreciation varies depending on the circumstances in question, and therefore, allows the court to resolve practical differences in the implementation of provisions within the convention. [41] Upon the elements of necessity and proportionality, it would be very difficult to justify that a compulsory vaccination applying to all individuals within the UK jurisdiction would be justified.

In the case of Biblical Centre of the Chuvash Republic v Russia (2014), the relevant authorities had to show that no other measures were available to achieve the same end that would interfere less seriously with the fundamental right concerned. [42] This was a burden that existed in order to prove that the interference was in fact necessary and proportionate. Specifically in relation to a compulsory COVID-19 vaccination, it is important to consider that there are alternatives that could be applied that would follow the same legitimate aim, yet would likely be less intrusive on individual rights. One of the more feasible options would be to continue, or even further the restrictions that have been implemented by the Coronavirus Act 2020, and that would apply to the UK population as a whole. In addition, while considering the elements of interference above, due to the variety of individual characteristics, activities, and needs across the population of the UK, it would be fair to say that certain population groups would find a compulsory vaccine significantly less necessary and proportionate than others.

In considering each of the three essential elements relating to the lawful interference of Article 8, the recent decision in Vavřička and Others v. the Czech Republic is highly significant as the ECtHR provided a ruling specifically in respect of compulsory vaccinations for MMR, as well as other diseases such as poliomyelitis, hepatitis B, and tetanus. [43] The applicants in Vavřička challenged the lawfulness of the sanctions imposed as a result of failing to fully vaccinate their children under Czech law, specifically the Public Health Protection Act. [44] The sanctions imposed consisted of a fine equivalent to €110 for Mr. Vavřička, and denial of admission to nursery schools for the children of the other applicants. [45] In determining whether the interfering sanctions entailed a violation of Article 8, the court was required to assess whether it was justified under Article 8(2), by applying the three prong test: (1) whether it was in accordance with the law, (2) whether it pursued one or more legitimate aims, and (3) whether it was necessary in a democratic society. [46] Without going into extensive detail, the court was satisfied that the state met each of these three requirements as the law existed to protect against diseases posing a serious health risk, to prevent decline in vaccination rates among children, and to support the state’s positive obligation to protect the lives and health of those within its jurisdiction. [47] Furthermore, the ECtHR decided that the interference was proportionate in light of the aim pursued, therefore it concluded that there was no violation of Article 8. [48]

Vavřička is a case that very clearly considers all of the elements required in determining the lawfulness of compulsory vaccination under Article 8. That being said, although the ECtHR determined that compulsory vaccination in this case was lawful, it does not necessarily mean that this decision is the sole precedent for a challenge to a compulsory COVID-19 vaccination. Firstly, this is due to the fact that the court in Vavřička explicitly states that “the present case relates to the standard and routine vaccination of children against diseases that are well known to medical science.” [49] It would be extremely difficult to claim that medical professionals have reached the same level of understanding of COVID-19 as the diseases concerned in the case of Vavřička . Furthermore, the court made it clear that while vaccination was a legal duty in the Czech Republic, there were no provisions that allowed forceable vaccination. Therefore, this decision is one that was made based on the specific facts involved and cannot be assumed to dictate the ruling in a case of compulsory COVID-19 vaccination. Given this decision, the lawfulness of efforts to enforce a compulsory COVID-19 vaccination may depend on the degree of the consequence for noncompliance, while also considering what might be deemed an exception for noncompliance, specifically medical or religious reasons.

The history of compulsory vaccination across the globe shows a trend of specific areas where compulsory vaccinations are lawfully implemented and therefore considered legitimate, necessary, and proportionate. There is a compelling argument supporting the implementation of such a vaccine to those in the public and private education sectors, as well as those who work in the healthcare system. These are typically environments where large numbers of people occupy relatively small areas. This leads to conditions where viruses can easily be transferred and therefore health matters within these areas are of high concern. Supporting the argument for the need for increased protection in these areas, a study from the Usher Institute showed that the reopening of schools (without any regard to vaccination) increases transmission of the virus by 24%. [50] Furthermore, a study conducted by the University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust found that about 45% of the healthcare workers at the UCLH showed evidence of being infected with COVID-19 between the months of April and May 2020. [51] When applying the criteria for interference under Article 8(2) and Article 9(2), specifically to the education and healthcare sectors, the argument supporting necessity and proportionality appears to be considerably stronger than that of a compulsory vaccine directed at the general public.

The purpose of this essay is simply to state whether a compulsory COVID-19 vaccination would be a violation of human rights law. From the above analysis, primarily regarding the elements of the relevant articles of the ECHR and the interpretation of those elements by the court, it is evident that a compulsory vaccination would be lawful if the government were to implement such a policy within explicit parameters whereby a compulsory vaccination would be necessary and proportionate in the interest of public health and safety and for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is the independent expert advisory committee that advises the UK health departments on immunisation, making recommendations concerning vaccination schedules and vaccine safety. In December 2020, JCVI provided a document to the UK Government with advice to facilitate the development of policy on COVID-19 vaccination. [52] This document set out the recommendations regarding prioritization of the administration of COVID-19 vaccines in the UK population based on a comprehensive review of COVID-19, demographic data, clinical risk factors for mortality and hospitalisation, as well as the mathematical modelling on the potential impact of different vaccination programs. [53] If at some point there is a decision to make a COVID-19 vaccination compulsory in the UK, who would be subject to this compulsory vaccination would likely be a decision made in line with further advice from JCVI through enforcement by the UK Government. However, imposing such a requirement upon specific groups of people raises a number of significant concerns, considering the potential challenges that can be brought forward by ethicists and/or representatives of various religions. These questions and concerns are highly complicated matters which are essentially outside the scope of this specific discussion.

As COVID-19 continues to develop, the questions about vaccination become more significant. When considering the case law on the legality of interference with specific provisions of the ECHR, it seems possible that a compulsory COVID-19 vaccination can be enforced while still complying with human rights law. Only time will tell if compulsory vaccination will be adopted, but when it comes to the state’s protection of the greater good under such unprecedented circumstances, enforcement of a compulsory vaccination appears to be one of the most effective and beneficial protective measures.

Aaron Chia is a law graduate from the School of Law, University of Stirling, Scotland and currently a student associate at Yeghoyan & Jacula Law Firm, Ontario, Canada.

[1] UK Public General Acts, Coronavirus Act 2020 , c.7 (March 25, 2020).

[2] Ibid, s.51; s.52; s.38-39.

[3] European Convention on Human Rights, European Treaty Series No. 5 (1950), art. 5. Available at .

[4] J. Pugh, “The United Kingdom’s Coronavirus Act, deprivations of liberty, and the right to liberty and security of the person,” Journal of the Law and the Biosciences 7/1 (2020), pp. 1-14.

[6]   Enhorn v. Sweden App no. 56529/00 (ECtHR, January 25, 2005); European Convention on Human Rights (see note 2), art. 2.

[7] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Impact of vaccines universally recommended for children–United States, 1990-1998,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 48/12 (1999), pp. 243-248.

[8] Hussain et al., “The Anti-vaccination Movement: A Regression in Modern Medicine,” Cureus Journal of Medical Science 10/7 (2018), e2919.

[9] R. Pierik, “Mandatory Vaccination: An Unqualified Defence” Journal of Applied Philosophy 35/2 (2016), pp. 381-398.

[10]   M. Mallory, L.Lindesmith, and R. Baric, “Vaccination-induced herd immunity: Success and challenges,” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 142/1 (2018), pp. 64-66.

[11] M. Sadarangani, Oxford Vaccine Group, Herd Immunity: How does it work? (2016). Available at .

[12] L. Kestenbaum, and K. Feemster, “Identifying and Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy” Pedatric annals 44/4 (2015), pp. e71-e75.

[13] D. Antona et al., “Measles Elimination Efforts and 2008-2011 Outbreak, France,” Emerging Infectious Diseases 19/3 (2013), pp. 357-364; M. Pepys, “Science and serendipity,” Clinical Medicine 7/6 (2007), pp. 562-578.

[14] G. Rezza, “Mandatory vaccination for infants and children: the Italian experience,” Pathogens and Global Health 113/7 (2019), pp. 291-296; D. Lévy-Bruhl et al. “Extension of French vaccination mandates: from the recommendation of the Steering Committee of the Citizen Consultation on Vaccination to the law,” Eurosurveillance 23/17 (2018), 18-00048.

[15] European Convention on Human Rights (see note 2), art. 9.

[16] C. Hough-Telford et al. “Vaccine Delays, Refusals, and Patient Dismissals: A Survey of Pediatricians,” Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics 138/3 (2016), e20162127.

[17] Vanderbilt Occupational Health Clinic, Immunizations and Religion (2013). Available at ; J. Grabenstein, “What the world’s religions teach, applied to vaccines and immune globulins,” Vaccine 31/16 (2013), pp. 2011-2023.

[18] E. Walkinshaw, “Mandatory vaccinations: The international landscape,” Canadian Medical Association Journal   183/16 (2011), pp. e1167-e1168.

[19] UK Public General Acts, Human Rights Act 1998 , c.42 (November 9, 1998).

[20] L.C.B. v The United Kingdom App no. 14/1997/798/1001 (ECtHR, June 9, 1998), para. 36.

[21] O¨neryildiz v Turkey App no. 48939/99 (ECtHR, November 30, 2004), para. 89.

[22] F. Camilleri, “Compulsory vaccinations for children: Balancing the competing human rights at stake,” Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights 37/3 (2019), pp. 245-267.

[23] Calvelli and Ciglio v Italy App no. 32967/96 (ECtHR, January 17, 2002), para. 49.

[24] A. Fiebelkorn, J. Seward, and W. Orenstein, “A Global Perspective of Vaccination of Healthcare Personnel against Measles: Systematic Review,” Vaccine 32/38 (2015), 4823.

[25] F. D’Ancona, “The law on compulsory vaccination in Italy: an update 2 years after the introduction,” Eurosurveillance 24/26 (2019), 1900371; Lévy-Bruhl et al. (see note 13); E. Walkinshaw, “Mandatory vaccination: The Canadian picture,” Canadian Medical Association Journal 183/16 (2011), pp. e1165-e1166; Walkinshaw (see note 17), pp. e1167.

[27] K. Ward, B. Hull, and J. Leask, “Financial incentives for childhood immunisation – a unique but changing Australian initiative,” Medical Journal of Australia 198/11 (2013), pp. 590-592.

[28] Camilleri (see note 21), pp. 251-252.

[29] Herczegfalvy v Austria App no. 10533/83 (ECtHR, September 24, 1992).

[30] European Convention on Human Rights (see note 2), art. 8.

[31] Kroon and Others v. the Netherlands App no. 18535/91 (ECtHR, October 27, 1994), para. 31.

[32] European Court of Human Rights, “Guide on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – Right to respect for private and family life,” (December 31, 2016). Available at

[33] Halford v The United Kingdom App no. 20605/92 (ECtHR, June 25, 1997).

[34] Silver and others v The United Kingdom App no. 5947/72; 6205/73; 7052/75; 7061/75; 7107/75; 7113/75; 7136/75 (ECtHR, March 25 1983).

[35] Piechowicz v Poland App no, 20071/07 (ECtHR, April 17, 2012).

[36] European Court of Human Rights, “Freedom of thought, conscience and religion: A guide to the implementation of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights,” (June, 2007). Available at .

[37] S.A.S. v France App no. 43835/11 (ECtHR, July 1, 2014).

[38] Olsson v Sweden App no. 10465/83 (ECtHR), March 24, 1988), para. 67; Dudgeon v. The United Kingdom App no. 7525/76 (ECtHR, October 22, 1981).

[39] Also see Z v Finland App no. 22009/93 (ECtHR, February 25, 1997).

[40] Piechowicz (see note 34).

[41] Paradiso and Campanelli v Italy App no. 25358 (ECtHR, January 24, 2017), para. 182.

[42] Biblical Centre of the Chuvash Republic v Russia App no. 33203/08 (ECtHR, June 12, 2014).

[43] Vavřička and Others v. the Czech Republic App no. 47621/13 and 5 others (ECtHR, April 8, 2021).

[44] Act No. 258/2000 on protection of public health as consolidated to Act No. 471/2005.

[45] Vavřička (see note 42), para. 293.

[46] Vavřička (see note 42), para. 265.

[47] Vavřička (see note 42), para. 272; para. 284; para. 282.

[48] Vavřička (see note 42), paras. 290-309; para. 311.

[49] Vavřička (see note 42), para. 158.

[50] Y. Li et al. “The temporal association of introducing and lifting non-pharmaceutical interventions with the time-varying reproduction number (R) of SARS-CoV-2: a modelling study across 131 countries,” The Lanclet Infectious Diseases 22/2 (2021), pp.139-202.

[51] University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, “Pandemic peak SARS-CoV-2 infection and seroconversion rates in London frontline health-care workers,” Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection 396 (2020) pp. e6-e7.

[52] Department of Health and Social Care, “Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation: advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination,” (December 30, 2020). Available at .

[53] Ibid, pp. 1.

Essay About Vaccines

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Home — Essay Samples — Nursing & Health — Public Health Issues — Vaccination

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Essays on Vaccination

Vaccines essay topics and outline examples, essay title 1: "the vital role of vaccines in public health: debunking myths and upholding science".

Thesis Statement: Vaccines are a cornerstone of public health, and it is crucial to dispel misinformation and emphasize the overwhelming scientific evidence supporting their safety and efficacy.

Essay Outline:

  • Introduction
  • The History and Impact of Vaccines
  • Common Vaccine Myths and Misconceptions
  • Scientific Evidence Supporting Vaccines
  • Vaccine Safety and Adverse Effects
  • The Importance of Herd Immunity
  • Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy

Essay Title 2: "Vaccination Mandates: Balancing Individual Rights with Public Health"

Thesis Statement: While respecting individual rights is essential, vaccination mandates are a legitimate measure to safeguard public health and prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.

  • The Concept of Vaccination Mandates
  • Individual Rights and Autonomy
  • Public Health Concerns and Disease Prevention
  • Legal and Ethical Considerations
  • Case Studies of Vaccine Mandates
  • Opposition and Challenges to Mandates

Essay Title 3: "The Impact of Vaccine Disinformation on Public Health: A Global Challenge"

Thesis Statement: The proliferation of vaccine disinformation poses a significant threat to public health, and addressing this challenge is vital to ensure widespread vaccine acceptance and disease control.

  • The Spread and Impact of Vaccine Disinformation
  • Factors Contributing to Vaccine Hesitancy
  • The Role of Social Media and Online Platforms
  • Countering Vaccine Disinformation Efforts
  • Global Initiatives and Collaborations
  • Case Studies on Successful Interventions

Should Parents Vaccinate Their Child

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Vaccination: Advantages, Hesitancy, and Herd Immunity

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The Effectiveness of Vacciness in Preventing Illnesses and Infectious Diseases

The importance of vaccines to prevent infectious diseases, advantages and disadvantages of the various types of vaccines, chickenpox: history, symptoms and treatment, the importance of increasing hpv vaccination in children, why is vaccination of human papillomavirus significant, debate on vaccination and autism, impact of media on parents' acceptance of immunization, the use of vaccines in modern medicine and the vaccination delimma, legal and ethical issues about the mmr vaccine, an argument in favor of using vaccines, the urgent need for a vaccine against zika virus, report on the measles disease and vaccination, yellow fever disease - what problems are caused by mosquitoes, chasing polio eradication: vaccine development, the examination of human sciences in connection to the effectiveness of vaccines, the different types of vaccines, vaccine types, should vaccinations be mandatory: future safety for children, should vaccines be required to attend public school.

Vaccination, also known as immunization, is a medical procedure that involves the administration of a vaccine to stimulate the immune system and provide protection against specific infectious diseases. It is a preventive measure designed to enhance the body's natural defenses by introducing harmless fragments of the disease-causing agent or weakened or inactivated forms of the pathogen.

The mechanism of vaccination involves introducing a weakened or inactivated form of a disease-causing agent, such as a virus or bacterium, into the body. This prompts the immune system to recognize and respond to the pathogen. When a vaccine is administered, it stimulates the immune system to produce an immune response, similar to what would happen during a natural infection. The immune system recognizes the foreign antigens present in the vaccine and mounts a defense by producing antibodies and activating immune cells. These immune responses help the body develop immunity against the specific pathogen. Vaccination can also involve the use of genetically engineered proteins or pieces of the pathogen to stimulate an immune response. These components are known as antigens and can be derived from the outer coats of viruses or the cell walls of bacteria. By introducing these harmless components of the pathogen into the body, vaccines help the immune system recognize and remember the specific pathogen. This way, if the individual is later exposed to the actual disease-causing agent, their immune system can mount a rapid and effective response to neutralize or eliminate the pathogen, preventing the development of the disease or reducing its severity.

1. Inactivated Vaccines 2. Live Attenuated Vaccines 3. Subunit, Recombinant, and Conjugate Vaccines 4. mRNA Vaccines 5. Viral Vector Vaccines

The origin of vaccination can be traced back to ancient times, although the concept was not fully understood at the time. The practice of vaccination, as we know it today, began with the discovery of immunization against smallpox by Edward Jenner in the late 18th century. Jenner, an English physician, observed that milkmaids who had contracted cowpox, a much milder disease, seemed to be protected against smallpox. In 1796, he conducted an experiment where he took material from a cowpox sore and inoculated it into an eight-year-old boy named James Phipps. Afterward, Jenner exposed the boy to smallpox, but he did not develop the disease. This groundbreaking experiment led to the development of the smallpox vaccine. The term "vaccination" itself comes from the Latin word "vacca," meaning cow, as the original smallpox vaccine was derived from cowpox. Jenner's work paved the way for the development of vaccines against other infectious diseases, and vaccination quickly became a widely accepted method for preventing and controlling the spread of deadly diseases.

Public opinion on vaccination varies across different societies and individuals. Overall, vaccination has been widely accepted and supported by the majority of the population, recognizing its significant role in preventing and controlling infectious diseases. Vaccines have been instrumental in eradicating or significantly reducing the impact of diseases such as smallpox, polio, measles, and more. However, there are also pockets of skepticism and opposition towards vaccination, driven by various factors such as misinformation, fear, religious beliefs, or concerns about vaccine safety. This has led to the emergence of anti-vaccine movements and vaccine hesitancy in some communities. Public opinion on vaccination is influenced by various factors, including access to accurate information, trust in healthcare professionals and scientific research, cultural and religious beliefs, personal experiences, and the influence of social media and other communication channels. Efforts to promote vaccination and address vaccine hesitancy involve public health campaigns, education, and communication strategies to provide accurate information about vaccines, address concerns, and emphasize the importance of vaccination in protecting individual and public health.

1. Disease prevention 2. Herd immunity 3. Public health impact 4. Safety and effectiveness 5. Global impact

1. Vaccine safety concerns 2. Personal freedom and choice 3. Misinformation and skepticism 4. Religious or philosophical objections 5. Perception of low disease risk

1. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccines prevent between 2-3 million deaths worldwide every year. 2. Smallpox is the only disease that has been totally eradicated through vaccination. 3. Vaccines have significantly reduced the global burden of infectious diseases. For instance, measles deaths decreased by 73% worldwide between 2000 and 2018. 4. The influenza vaccine helps reduce the risk of severe illness and hospitalization. In the United States, annual flu vaccination prevented an estimated 7.5 million flu illnesses during the 2019-2020 season. 5. The average vaccine takes around 10-15 years of research and development before it is widely available.

The topic of vaccination is of paramount importance when considering the impact it has had on public health. Writing an essay about vaccination provides an opportunity to explore the profound significance of this medical intervention. Vaccination has played a pivotal role in preventing and controlling infectious diseases, saving countless lives worldwide. By delving into the subject, one can highlight the historical development of vaccines, their mechanisms of action, and the scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness. Furthermore, examining the topic of vaccination allows for an exploration of the public health implications, including the concept of herd immunity and the role of vaccination in disease eradication efforts. It also provides a platform to address the various arguments surrounding vaccine hesitancy and vaccine refusal, shedding light on the importance of accurate information, education, and communication. Moreover, the essay can delve into the ethical considerations surrounding vaccination policies, such as balancing individual autonomy with the collective responsibility for public health. By exploring these aspects, one can foster a deeper understanding of the challenges, controversies, and potential solutions in promoting vaccination uptake.

1. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2018). Immunization information for parents. 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Vaccines & immunizations. 3. Gust, D. A., Darling, N., Kennedy, A., & Schwartz, B. (2008). Parents with doubts about vaccines: Which vaccines and reasons why. Pediatrics, 122(4), 718-725. 4. Larson, H. J., de Figueiredo, A., Xiahong, Z., Schulz, W. S., Verger, P., Johnston, I. G., Cook, A. R., Jones, N. S., & the SAGE Working Group on Vaccine Hesitancy. (2016). The state of vaccine confidence 2016: Global insights through a 67-country survey. EBioMedicine, 12, 295-301. 5. MacDonald, N. E., Hesitancy SAGE Working Group. (2015). Vaccine hesitancy: Definition, scope and determinants. Vaccine, 33(34), 4161-4164. 6. Offit, P. A., Quarles, J., Gerber, M. A., Hackett, C. J., & Marcuse, E. K. (2002). Addressing parents' concerns: Do vaccines cause allergic or autoimmune diseases? Pediatrics, 110(6), 1113-1116. 7. Omer, S. B., Salmon, D. A., Orenstein, W. A., deHart, M. P., & Halsey, N. (2009). Vaccine refusal, mandatory immunization, and the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases. New England Journal of Medicine, 360(19), 1981-1988. 8. Smith, P. J., Humiston, S. G., Parnell, T., Vannice, K. S., & Salmon, D. A. (2011). The association between intentional delay of vaccine administration and timely childhood vaccination coverage. Public Health Reports, 126(Suppl 2), 135-146. 9. World Health Organization. (2019). Ten threats to global health in 2019. 10. World Health Organization. (2021). Immunization coverage.

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essay writing about vaccination

Vaccine - Free Essay Examples And Topic Ideas

Vaccines are biological preparations that provide immunity against particular diseases by stimulating the body’s immune response. Essays on vaccines could explore their development, efficacy, and the public health implications of vaccination programs. Discussions might also delve into the historical milestones in vaccine development, the controversies surrounding vaccinations, and the challenges in global vaccine distribution. Moreover, analyzing the ethical considerations, the economic impact, and the future advancements in vaccine technology can provide a comprehensive understanding of the vital role vaccines play in global health and wellbeing. A vast selection of complimentary essay illustrations pertaining to Vaccine you can find in Papersowl database. You can use our samples for inspiration to write your own essay, research paper, or just to explore a new topic for yourself.

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Last Updated August 2023 | This article was created by editorial staff and reviewed by Deepak S. Patel, MD, FAAFP, FACSM

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There has been confusion and misunderstandings about vaccines. But vaccinations are an important part of family and public health. Vaccines prevent the spread of contagious, dangerous, and deadly diseases. These include measles, polio, mumps, chicken pox, whooping cough, diphtheria, HPV, and COVID-19.

The first vaccine discovered was the smallpox vaccine. Smallpox was a deadly illness. It killed 300 million to 500 million people around the world in the last century. After the vaccine was given to people, the disease was eventually erased. It’s the only disease to be completely destroyed. There are now others close to that point, including polio.

When vaccination rates decline, cases of preventable diseases go up. This has been happening in recent years with measles. As of July 7, 2023, the Centers for Disease Control has been notified of 18 confirmed cases in 12 U.S. jurisdictions. That may not seem like a lot but compare it with just 3 cases during the same time in 2022. By the end of 2022, there were 121 cases. Almost all those cases could have been prevented with vaccines.

What are vaccines?

A vaccine (or immunization) is a way to build your body’s natural immunity to a disease before you get sick. This keeps you from getting and spreading the disease.

For some vaccines, a weakened form of the disease germ is injected into your body. This is usually done with a shot in the leg or arm. Your body detects the invading germs (antigens) and produces antibodies to fight them. Those antibodies then stay in your body for a long time. In many cases, they stay for the rest of your life. If you’re ever exposed to the disease again, your body will fight it off without you ever getting the disease.

Some illnesses, like strains of cold viruses, are fairly mild. But some, like COVID-19, smallpox or polio, can cause life-altering changes. They can even result in death. That’s why preventing your body from contracting these illnesses is very important.

How does immunity work?

Your body builds a defense system to fight foreign germs that could make you sick or hurt you. It’s called your immune system. To build up your immune system, your body must be exposed to different germs. When your body is exposed to a germ for the first time, it produces antibodies to fight it. But that takes time, and you usually get sick before the antibodies have built up. But once you have antibodies, they stay in your body. So, the next time you’re exposed to that germ, the antibodies will attack it, and you won’t get sick.

Path to improved health

Everyone needs vaccines. They are recommended for infants, children, teenagers, and adults. There are widely accepted immunization schedules available. They list what vaccines are needed, and at what age they should be given. Most vaccines are given to children. It’s recommended they receive 12 different vaccines by their 6th birthday. Some of these come in a series of shots. Some vaccines are combined so they can be given together with fewer shots.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) believes that immunization is essential to preventing the spread of contagious diseases. Vaccines are especially important for at-risk populations such as young children and older adults. The AAFP offers vaccination recommendations,  immunization schedules , and information on disease-specific vaccines.

Being up to date on vaccines is especially important as children head back to school. During the 2021 school year, state-required vaccines among kindergarteners dropped from 95% to 94%. In the 2021-2022 year it fell again to 93%. Part of this was due to disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is there anyone who can’t get vaccines?

Some people with certain immune system diseases should not receive some types of vaccines and should speak with their health care providers first.  There is also a small number of people who don’t respond to a particular vaccine. Because these people can’t be vaccinated, it’s very important everyone else gets vaccinated. This helps preserve the “herd immunity” for the vast majority of people. This means that if most people are immune to a disease because of vaccinations, it will stop spreading.

Are there side effects to vaccines?

There can be side effects after you or your child get a vaccine. They are usually mild. They include redness or swelling at the injection site. Sometimes children develop a low-grade fever. These symptoms usually go away in a day or two. More serious side effects have been reported but are rare.

Typically, it takes years of development and testing before a vaccine is approved as safe and effective. However, in cases affecting a global, public health crisis or pandemic, it is possible to advance research, development, and production of a vaccine for emergency needs. Scientists and doctors at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study the research before approving a vaccine. They also inspect places where the vaccines are produced to make sure all rules are being followed. After the vaccine is released to the public, the FDA continues to monitor its use. It makes sure there are no safety issues.

The benefits of their use far outweigh any risks of side effects.

What would happen if we stopped vaccinating children and adults?

If we stopped vaccinating, the diseases would start coming back. Aside from smallpox, all other diseases are still active in some part of the world. If we don’t stay vaccinated, the diseases will come back. There would be epidemics, just like there used to be.

This happened in Japan in the 1970s. They had a good vaccination program for pertussis (whooping cough). Around 80% of Japanese children received a vaccination. In 1974, there were 393 cases of whooping cough and no deaths. Then rumors began that the vaccine was unsafe and wasn’t needed. By 1976, the vaccination rate was 10%. In 1979, there was a pertussis epidemic, with more than 13,000 cases and 41 deaths. Soon after, vaccination rates improved, and the number of cases went back down.

Things to consider

There have been many misunderstandings about vaccines. There are myths and misleading statements that spread on the internet and social media about vaccines. Here are answers to 5 of the most common questions/misconceptions about vaccines.

Vaccines do NOT cause autism.

Though multiple studies have been conducted, none have shown a link between autism and vaccines.  The initial paper that started the rumor has since been discredited.

Vaccines are NOT too much for an infant’s immune system to handle.

Infants’ immune systems can handle much more than what vaccines give them. They are exposed to hundreds of bacteria and viruses every day. Adding a few more with a vaccine doesn’t add to what their immune systems are capable of handling.

Vaccines do NOT contain toxins that will harm you.

Some vaccines contain trace amounts of substances that could be harmful in a large dose. These include formaldehyde, aluminum, and mercury. But the amount used in the vaccines is so small that the vaccines are completely safe. For example, over the course of all vaccinations by the age of 2, a child will take in 4mg of aluminum. A breast-fed baby will take in 10mg in 6 months. Soy-based formula delivers 120mg in 6 months. In addition, infants have 10 times as much formaldehyde naturally occurring in their bodies than what is contained in a vaccine. And the toxic form of mercury has never been used in vaccines.

Vaccines do NOT cause the diseases they are meant to prevent.

This is a common misconception, especially about the flu vaccine. Many people think they get sick after getting a flu shot. But flu shots contain dead viruses—it’s impossible to get sick from the shot but mild symptoms can occur because the vaccine may trigger an immune response, which is normal. Even with vaccines that use weakened live viruses, you could experience mild symptoms similar to the illness. But you don’t actually have the disease.

We DO still need vaccines in the U.S., even though infection rates are low.

Many diseases are uncommon in the U.S. because of our high vaccination rate. But they haven’t been eliminated from other areas of the world. If a traveler from another country brings a disease to the U.S., anyone who isn’t vaccinated is at risk of getting that disease. The only way to keep infection rates low is to keep vaccinating.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • Why does my child need to be vaccinated?
  • What are the possible side effects of the vaccination?
  • What do I do if my child experiences a side effect from the vaccine?
  • What happens if my child doesn’t get all doses of the recommended vaccines? Will he or she be able to go to daycare or school?
  • We missed a vaccination. Can my child still get it late?
  • Are there new vaccines that aren’t on the immunization schedules for kids?
  • What should I do if I don’t have health insurance, or my insurance doesn’t cover vaccinations?
  • What vaccinations do I need as an adult?
  • Why do some people insist they became sick after getting the flu vaccine?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vaccines & Immunizations

Last Updated: August 10, 2023

This article was contributed by editorial staff.

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This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.

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Vaccines: Fact vs. Fiction Introduction Vaccines have been developed to prevent the spread of diseases that have serious effects on the world’s population. The more individuals that go unvaccinated the greater the chance that these diseases, that are easily preventable, are spread. The issue of vaccinating children has been a recent "hot button" issue and highly debated. Parents have many reasons for not vaccinating their children. More often than not, I have heard from parents who say that they

Vaccines: The Pros And Cons Of Vaccines

According to the CDC, all vaccines carry a risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) in about one per million children. Most vaccine-preventable diseases can cause serious or life-threatening infections in infants and young children. For example, exposure and infection with polio can occur at a very young age and can cause paralysis, so the vaccine should be given to infants as soon as possible. People should be aware of what vaccines are capable to do other than save lives, because

The Dangers Of Vaccines: The Benefits Of Vaccines

Vaccines have the possibility of protecting people from infectious diseases and viruses. Some do not agree to vaccinate. Even though some are hesitant when considering vaccines because of perceived fears, everyone should receive vaccines to protect themselves from the harmful viruses and diseases, because scientists have provided information proving their safety, vaccines are able to protect people from viruses and diseases, and there are many benefits of vaccinations. Vaccinations have benefits

Anti Vaccines

sometimes for the worse. Several celebrities such as Jim Carrey have joined the anti-vaccine campaign leading several to follow.These people have secretly and unknowingly aided the campaigns of diseases such as the highly contagious measles. That is why to prevent the anti-vaccine campaign from spreading, people need to well educated on the subject of vaccines and the government should ban copyrights or lower prices of vaccines. School children are required to take vaccinations in all 50 states of the U

The Importance Of Vaccines

preventative vaccinations. (Vaccines 1). With 732,00 children saved from death and illness there should be no question on whether parents should vaccinate their children. Vaccines are an important part of saving children’s lives, all parents should get their children vaccinated, this prevents their child from catching diseases and passing it on to other children and adults, some parents fear that vaccinations can cause autism when there is no scientific evidence; vaccines are safe in the amount used

The Dangers Of Vaccines

the dangers of vaccines and the hazards of the government forcing them. “About 30,000 cases of adverse reactions to vaccines have been reported annually to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) since 1990, with 10-15% classified as serious, meaning associated with permanent disability, hospitalization, life-threatening illness, or death” (VAERS). These facts are a sad truth. The fact that 30,000 people have lifelong problems now due to the adverse reaction to the vaccines is sad. Because

Vaccines In Children

most vaccinated on earth. Children receive about thirty-three doses of ten vaccinations by the age of five years. Not only do children need a separate vaccine for most diseases (hepatitis B, polio, Hib, and chicken pox are single vaccines; DTaP and MMR are multiple) but they generally need more than one dose of each vaccine. Because of the many vaccines needed, vaccination is an extremely controversial topic in the United States Today. Whatever side of the aisle you may fall with regard to your opinion

Pros Of Vaccines

Vaccines are a simple and effective way to ensure society doesn’t become infected with serious diseases that can cause epidemics. In today’s world, there are many different vaccines available and through increased use of vaccines numerous infections and diseases have been eradicated in devolved countries. Vaccines and immunisations (interchangeable) are small injections, that prevent someone from contracting life-threating diseases such as measles, small-pox, polio etc. Immunisations work by activating

Austism and Vaccines

as well as their children every November, when the flu season is fast approaching. Though countless Americans do follow the government’s plea, many others insist that these vaccines distributed every year (as well as other year-long vaccines) contain an abnormally high amount of thimerosal, (a mercury-based chemical in vaccines designed to prevent the growth of bacteria) which could eventually lead to autism. This generation of fear is what has led many concerned parents to refuse to vaccinate their

Vaccines Essay

side affects of vaccines. Challengers have claimed that vaccines do not work, that they are or may be dangerous, or that mandatory vaccinations violate individual rights or religious principles. Some wonder, are vaccinations even 100% effective? For parents, choosing to be vaccinated is like playing a game of roulette; it’s a gamble. Deciding not to have your child vaccinated has causes for concern amongst society. Families are being bombarded with stories about the dangers of vaccines like how sick

What Is Vaccine?

Vaccines are a big part of the modern world. They help our immune system in the same way someone runs a training course; preparing for something they may encounter in the future. Vaccines have many benefits that can help in the long run, that is why I stand in firm affirmation that vaccines should be required for children. To clarify, a vaccine provides active acquired immunity to certain viruses and diseases; a vaccine is biologically prepared. I offer the following contentions in affirmation

The Vaccine War

Through the rise of technological advances in medicine, the vaccine has changed the world for the greater good of the human race. Making a great triumph and virtually eliminating an array of life-threatening diseases, from smallpox to diphtheria, thus adding approximately thirty years to many humans’ life spans. Although, a new complication has arisen, possibly linking neurological digression with this rise of new vaccines. Such a digression has forced parents to exempt their children from receiving

The Ebola Vaccine

When my professor requested a research on How Important is the Ebola Vaccine? I immediately had to first find out what Ebola was, and how you contract this disease. After getting an understanding of the virus and what causes it, I proceed to research to explain the importance of the vaccine, how effective it is and how well it could fundamentally alter humans contain future Ebola out-breaks. Through-out the years of human history the problem of diseases has existed. The Ebola virus has become increasingly

Vaccines: Yes or No?

As a human being, you should always try to do what is the best for your loved ones. Vaccines and immunizations can actually save the life of your child. Vaccinations can protect your child from diseases and sicknesses. An example of life-saving vaccinations is the Polio vaccine. Polio was once America’s most feared diseases, but because the vaccination causes immunity, Polio is not feared anymore because vaccinations have eliminated cases of Polio. Vaccination is also a safe way of treatment and

The History of Vaccine

The Matter of Vaccine When children are born and for the first two years of their lives, they receive multiple shots and drops of vaccines. These vaccines protect them from getting diseases that were deadly and common in children many decades ago. Vaccine is one of the greatest achievement in medicine history. There were thousands of lives lost in the battle with some of the terrifying diseases like smallpox and polio. Now, after years of vaccine invention, vaccination spread in many countries which

Disadvantages Of Vaccines

Vaccines can be defined as a substance that provides immunity against diseases by stimulating the production of antibodies. Vaccines are made from the causative agent, in other words, the same virus that causes the illness is used, but it is weakened and treated to act as an antigen without causing harm to the body. When vaccines enter the body, the immune system remembers the virus. Therefore, if that same virus entered the body, the immune system would have already developed antibodies against


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