The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has dismissed an appeal of families whose children were refused entry to pre-schools on the grounds that they had not been vaccinated against childhood diseases. The ECHR judges decided by a vote of 16 to 1 that although the mandatory vaccination legislation interfered with the right to private life, it was justified on grounds of public health as a “protective” measure for other classmates and could be regarded as being “necessary in a democratic society”. The policy did not enable vaccinations to be forcibly given and children of primary school age could not be excluded from attending school. Whilst the appeal pre-dates the Covid-19 pandemic, it is an interesting decision at a time when European governments begin to grapple with a ‘third-wave’ of the virus.
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