Coronavirus: Is there a legal basis to force a Covid vaccination in Spain?

COVID-19 :

The national health law is the basis of the 1944 law and the 3/1986 organic law on special public health measures provide coverage for possible compulsory vaccination of Covid, although some lawyers are calling for the introduction of new instruments to make compliance more effective, reports Efe.

the provisions approved in the last century in Spain for diphtheria and smallpox, including the possibility of declaring the vaccine compulsory, facilitates the legal route so that vaccination can be imposed in your case, a measure which, although it is in accordance with the law, is not most popular among the medical community because of the “counterproductive” effect it could have.

But where do we specifically say that the vaccine must be compulsory? The lawyer specializing in health issues and professor at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) José Enrique Pérez Palaci explained to Efe that, as a first step, they provide for the right to life and physical integrity and the protection of health both in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights. man and the constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In Spain, the first title of the Constitution pick it up right to life and physical integrity (Article 15) and Article 43 stipulate that it is the responsibility of the public authorities to organize and protect public health through preventive measures and the necessary benefits and services.

In addition, in Law 22/1980, which modifies the Basic Law of Health In 1944, it was specifically planned that vaccines against smallpox, diphtheria and other infections could be declared compulsory by the government.

“Vaccinations against smallpox and the diphtheria and against typhus and paratyphus infections can be declared compulsory by the government due to the existence of recurrent cases of these diseases or the current or foreseeable epidemic state is considered practicalSays this precept in his only article.

Still in force is a decree of 1945 that approved the regulations for the fight against infectious diseases, which in its article 21 declares that vaccinations against diphtheria and smallpox may be compulsory for all Spanish citizens, “their non-execution “. For lawyers like Perez Palaci, “By analogy”, the vaccine against the Covid-19 pandemic could also be declared compulsory.

Although the Patient Autonomy Act 2002 states that the person concerned can accept or refuse certain therapies, this right to decide has some exceptions, mainly the risk to public health.

Preserving public health

This risk is developed in Organic Law 3/1986, which in its article 2 declares the possibility for the authorities to take all the necessary measures to preserve public health.

For the lawyer, the issue of compulsory vaccination is, finally, the collision of two rights, the right to health protection, which prevails in the event of a pandemic such as COVID-19, and the right to privacy and confidentiality. .

“Now, if the existing regulations can create some confusion, the executive and the legislature can also intervene in this regard and modify it by introducing relevant articles both in the penal code and in a new organic law or an amendment of the general law of public health ”, stressed.

For the professor of constitutional law at the University of Barcelona (UB) Mar Aguilera, “More than declaring it compulsory in law, it will be essential to establish what are the consequences of not being vaccinated».

In conversation with Efe, Aguilera said that “it is important to clarify what the consequences are and that these are proportional”, precepts that should foresee and assess several cases such as “what happens if parents continue to take their child without be vaccinated against COVID-19 at school? ”.

From the medical world, however, they insist that it is not the most appropriate to declare the vaccine mandatory “Because it could have counterproductive effects,” Magda Campins, head of epidemiology at Barcelona Vall d’Hebron hospital, told Efe.

“If you force people, they can be more reluctant. We hope to achieve high vaccination coverage of the population without having to fulfill the obligation, ”said the doctor.

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