COVID-19 Compulsory Vaccination and the European Court of Human Rights

Main Article Content

Silvio Roberto Vinceti https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1536-5745

Keywords

European Court of Human Rights, COVID-19, compulsory vaccination, human rights, originalism

Abstract

Between August and September 2021, the European Court of Human Rights rejected three requests for interim measures against France and Greece’s compulsory vaccination statutes against COVID-19. Due to the procedural nature of the interim measures, however, the status of vaccine mandates against SARS-CoV-2 under the European Convention of Human Rights has not been addressed. The paper argues that COVID-19 compulsory vaccination is consistent with both the text and the original understanding of Article 8 of the Convention. Moreover, considering pertinent case law on medical mandatory treatments, COVID-19 vaccine mandates should also square with the European Court of Human Right’s “living instrument” doctrine. For this reason, it is expected that the European Court of Human rights will uphold COVID-19 vaccination programs. At the same time, it would be beneficial if more Council of Europe member states triggered Article 15 derogation mechanism in order to make an even stronger case for fast-track developed vaccines and contrast vaccine hesitancy.

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