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European rights court backs compulsory pre-school vaccinations

European rights court backs compulsory pre-school vaccinations

European rights court backs compulsory pre-school vaccinations

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has backed the

Czech Republic in its requirement for mandatory pre-school vaccinations.

The case was brought by families who were fined or whose children were

refused entry to pre-schools because they had not been vaccinated.

In a landmark ruling, the court found that while the Czech policy interfered

with the right to a private life, there was a need to protect public health.

All the cases pre-date the pandemic.

 European rights court backs compulsory pre-school vaccinations
European rights court backs compulsory pre-school vaccinations
However, the issue of routine childhood vaccinations has come under

increasing scrutiny due to the spread of Covid-19.

This is the first ruling from the ECHR on compulsory vaccination against

childhood diseases. The judges backed the Czech legislation by 16 to 1.

“The… measures could be regarded as being ‘necessary in a democratic

society'” the court said, adding: “The objective has to be that every child

is protected against serious diseases, through vaccination or by virtue

of herd immunity.” Under the Czech rules, parents are legally obliged

to vaccinate their children against a number of childhood diseases

unless this is not possible for health reasons.

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However, the jabs cannot be forcibly given and unvaccinated children

cannot be excluded on this basis once they reach primary school age.

In one of the five cases involving pre-school exclusions, a family refused to

allow their daughter to received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab.

The child joined the school in 2006 but her place was withdrawn two years

later when the family doctor informed the headteacher that the child had

not received the vaccination. A Czech court later backed the school’s decision

on the grounds that allowing the child to continue to go to the pre-school

could endanger others.

Other parents had been refused pre-school places, while one father was

fined for failing to fully vaccinate his children. The Czech Republic is not

the only EU country with mandatory childhood vaccinations.

Last year, a law came into effect in Germany requiring all parents to vaccinate

their children against measles or face a fine of up to €2,500 ($3,000; £2,160).

France and Italy have also changed their vaccine rules following a measles

outbreak in recent years, while similar suggestions were made in England

amid falling uptake of the MMR jab in England in 2018-19.

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