Legal study on the dichotomy between public health and personal autonomy.
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of many worldwide, and ended many others. This has caused pharmaceutical companies to rush and produce vaccines, which were then endorsed by governments worldwide. There exists today a political and legal discussion on this matter, more specifically, the matter of vaccine mandates. Vaccine mandates are government issued edicts to the effect of mass vaccinating the population. Some have encouraged this move, deeming it the State’s responsibility to protect public health and lives from the dangers of the virus, and argue that it is within the State’s prerogatives to sanction those who do not take the vaccine as it is a public danger to do so. Still others have argued quite the opposite, and have said that one’s bodily autonomy and personal liberties cannot be overruled by state mandates and edicts for whatever reason. Taking the vaccine is as much a right as abstention, they argue. This article explores this dichotomy between public health and individual freedoms and personal autonomy from the perspective of international laws and conventions in addition to a multitude of national laws.