A landmark European court decision ruled this week that compulsory vaccinations for children are “necessary in a democratic society”, resolving once and for all the rights of society supersede those of the individual on national health issues.
After all, the current coronavirus pandemic has shown that public health is also a primary national security matter. And it should be treated as such.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) near-unanimous panel of judges rejected a Czech family’s appeal, claiming that the compulsory vaccination law went against their right to respect private life.
The vaccination in question is the series of preventive jabs or drops that all children have received from a very young age, protecting them against a series of nine diseases, initially known as the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella.
Over the years, it has expanded to include the anti-viral for polio, hepatitis B, and tetanus.
Future vaccines may even include SARS-CoV-2.
Poliomyelitis was nearly eradicated a decade ago, but conflict such as the war in Afghanistan, civil wars in Iraq and Syria, the rise of ISIS fundamentalism prevented UN health workers from administering the vaccine.
As a result, polio is back.
The same could be said of COVID-19, where if we do not fight the virus now in a universal effort to prevent it from spreading and becoming deadlier, more mutations will appear, making it harder to combat.
Sixteen of the 17 ECHR judges rejected the Czech families’ argument against compulsory vaccination, concluded “the measures could be regarded as being necessary in a democratic society,” and the government did not “exceeded their wide margin of appreciation in this area.”
Apart from the ignoramus anti-vaxxers and anti-mask conspiracy theorists, we now have spoilt public health workers in Cyprus who refuse to be vaccinated.
They are front-line health workers entrusted by the public to protect and care for us if we are inflicted with the deadly disease.
That is their job. If there are a few who don’t want to do it, they should go home and look for another job and let the vast majority of nurses and doctors do theirs.
This irresponsible attitude and tolerance by politicians, especially on the eve of an election, must stop.
The Anastasiades administration is hell-bent on defending what little is left of its good name, having nurtured a reputation for turning a blind eye to corruption and greed, spending all its effort to counter the harsh criticism over the golden passports debacle.
Worse still, government and public officials’ emetic responses are simply feeding the growing feeling of mistrust, as seen by a recent CyBC poll suggesting two-thirds reject Anastasiades policies.
This doldrum in popularity is worse than Donald Trump’s.
For once, officials should have the courage to be blunt with public health workers, telling them to vaccinate or go home.
If teachers can be dragged before a disciplinary panel for refusing to be tested, conditional for entering schools, why can’t disobedient nurses and doctors get sacked for violating their terms of employment?
And if this government refuses to do anything about it, it’s about time they went home too!