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The adverse effects of Covid-19 are no longer hypothetical, with most nations receiving these ramifications. As a result, several vaccines have been developed and administered to people worldwide as a response to the negative implications of the virus. However, since the introduction of vaccinations to society, the decision to be vaccinated has been met with many debates. Primarily within countries that claim citizens have the final decision but have integrated various regulations, such as a ban on travel without the vaccination certificate, resulting in questions about whether the decision is authentically in the people’s hands. In particular, mandatory vaccination for Covid-19 has been a debated topic since the vaccine’s introduction, with each side of the debate offering valid reasons for their stance. Ultimately, an in-depth examination of Covid-19 vaccination shows multiple benefits associated with the vaccines than disadvantages, making mandatory Covid-19 vaccination ideal.
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Reasons for Mandatory Covid-19 Vaccination
Covid-19 vaccination should be mandatory because of the multiple benefits affiliated with the vaccine. According to Cheng (2021), existing vaccines, such as Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, have undergone the necessary tests and have been deemed approximately 90-95% efficient in minimizing vulnerability to the virus. However, since its onset in 2019, Covid-19 has been heavily attributed to a high mortality rate, especially in the United States, claiming the lives of people of all ages, mainly those in the healthcare delivery industry. Additionally, the virus has been the cause of many people succumbing to other chronic illnesses, especially respiratory disorders, such as pneumonia. Therefore, mandatory vaccination will offer more than 90% prevention against the virus and ensure less mortality and morbidity rates in the community setting.
Furthermore, when the disease began spreading, various measures were adopted to help reduce the rate of spread. Excellent examples include social distancing, travel restrictions, and lockdowns. In hindsight, measures like lockdowns had significant adverse effects on the people and countries’ financial statuses, with many people losing their income sources after workplaces shut down. Subsequently, these strategies also contributed to a high rise in mental health disorders and domestic abuse during the pandemic. By having vaccination mandatory, prevention rates are increased by large percentages, paving the way for eliminating previous measures and their subsequent negative consequences, restoring life to its normal status.
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On the other hand, mandatory vaccination for Covid-19 ensures adherence to ethical healthcare practices. The predominant ethical considerations when providing care interventions comprise beneficence (benefiting the patient) and non-maleficence (not causing harm). These two ethical principles are achieved and maintained by mandatory Covid-19 vaccination because the vaccines have shown higher effectiveness and efficacy in preventing susceptibility to the virus (Bowen, 2020). Most importantly, mandatory vaccination leads to herd immunity against Coviid-19, which facilitates social justice by ensuring a large section of society is immunized, irrespective of age, race, nationality, and gender.
Reasons Against Mandatory Covid-19 Vaccination
Nevertheless, several arguments have been sent against the ideology of mandatory Covid-19 vaccination. According to King et al. (2022), the primary argument has been linked with the potential infringement of human rights; across the globe, one common human right evident in many countries is the right to freedom, which will be infringed if vaccination is made mandatory. Moreover, others argue that mandatory vaccination infringes on the rights to bodily integrity and privacy guaranteed to all human beings. While these human rights arguments are generally valid, the question remains, should governments merely turn a blind eye and allow their citizens to die in large numbers when there is a solution that showcases high-efficiency levels?
At the same time, the human rights argument proceeds to ethical issues. Specifically, by mandatory vaccination, the ethical autonomy standard is not obeyed; in autonomy, patients and public members have the right to decide whether they will accept a proposed medical intervention (Gur-Arie et al., 2021). Nonetheless, as initially shown, mandatory Covid-19 vaccination results in adherence to the other three of the four primary ethical standards: beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. Most importantly, when prioritizing, beneficence and non-maleficence are the top ethical considerations before autonomy.
The other common reason against mandatory vaccination for Covid-19 is the vaccines’ safety. Often, before a vaccine is deemed ready for use by societal members, numerous investigations and clinical trials are performed to guarantee effectiveness and safety. For the current Covid-19 vaccines, the period for testing is argued by many to have been short for guaranteeing safety for users, making the decision to have it mandatory a vivid argument. Nonetheless, there is no evidence or cases to invalidate the safety of the existing vaccines. Hence, the argument has no solid ground or evidence.
Making Covid-19 vaccination mandatory is vital in today’s society. The step is ideal for ensuring adequate protection against the pandemic, especially in reducing mortality and morbidity rates associated with the disease. Besides, it enhances obedience to various ethical standards in medical practices, mainly beneficence, justice, and non-maleficence. Simultaneously, the decision will eliminate measures like lockdowns and travel restrictions that adversely impact the economy and people’s income sources. Therefore, making Covid-19 mandatory is the best way to ensure protection against the ongoing pandemic.
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- Bowen R. A. R. (2020). Ethical and organizational considerations for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of health care workers: A clinical laboratorian’s perspective. Clinica Chimica Acta; International Journal of Clinical Chemistry, 510, 421–422. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cca.2020.08.003
- Cheng F. K. (2022). Debate on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination. Ethics, Medicine, and Public Health, 21, 100761. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jemep.2022.100761
- Gur-Arie, R., Jamrozik, E., & Kingori, P. (2021). No jab, no job? Ethical issues in mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of healthcare personnel. BMJ Global Health, 6(2), e004877. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-004877
- King, J., Ferraz, O. L. M., & Jones, A. (2022). Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination and human rights. Lancet (London, England), 399(10321), 220–222. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)02873-7