Martin Buijsen, Professor of Health Law at Erasmus School of Law, argues in an article in het Reformatorisch Dagblad that compulsory vaccinations will not materialise if this is not in line with a country’s traditions. In the Netherlands, compulsory vaccination is not expected because our vaccination by choice programme is working properly.
Probably only when all other efforts fail, compulsory vaccination could become a reality in the Netherlands. “Our country has a tradition of voluntariness. When there has been no culture of obligations, that will not establish itself quickly because it is a matter of culture. That is why a compulsory vaccination campaign will not take off”, according to Buijsen. Countries that have made vaccination obligatory or have taken heavy measures for unvaccinated people also have a history of doing so.
In the Netherlands, vaccination campaigns are traditionally voluntary, and these are a success. “The vaccination programme against childhood diseases is voluntary. With this programme, we achieve a vaccination rate of over ninety per cent. The covid vaccination rate amongst people of twelve years and older is almost 83 per cent in the Netherlands”, says Buijsen.
From a legal perspective, compulsory vaccination is achievable in the Netherlands. The measure and the execution should align with article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). “This means that compulsory vaccinations should be regulated by law, should serve a legitimate purpose and should be necessary and proportionate. Currently, there is a legitimate reason: public health. Concerning the necessity and proportionality, the European Court of Human Rights leaves much room for judgment for the particular country”, explains Buijsen.