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Mandatory childhood vaccination could cause “irreparable damage,” says expert panel

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5995 (Published 11 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l5995

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Re: Mandatory childhood vaccination could cause “irreparable damage,” says expert panel

“Making it mandatory for children to be vaccinated could result in “irreparable damage” by turning the decision whether to vaccinate into a rights issue, a panel of experts has argued”.

Mandatory vaccination might well turn the decision whether or not to vaccinate into a rights issue with the obvious loss of choice but since there is no such thing as a risk free vaccine and the possibility exists for some children to become injured because of it, the authorities would have to give consideration to all human rights and question whether or not in enforcing vaccination, they risk violating any of the rights bestowed on children.

A number of rights safeguard children, preserve their rights to mental, physical and social health, and their ability to participate in a family life.

Dr David Elliman, was reported in the Family Law Week as having said there is no such thing as a vaccination which is 100% risk free.

“Dr Elliman acknowledged that no vaccination is 100% risk free, but that vaccination has greatly reduced the burden of infectious disease”. (1)

And he is not alone in that, with numerous other bodies stating the same, ranging from The Oxford Vaccine group (2) , the WHO (3), The British Society of Immunology (4) the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (5) and more recently in June 2019, Baroness Barran (6)

Realistically, despite every effort to ensure vaccine safety, some children will suffer lasting injuries because of it. Consideration would need to be given to whether or not compulsory vaccination, in the event that something goes wrong, would violate the rights bestowed on children via various conventions etc, not to be harmed.

Article 2 of the Human Rights Act ensures that no one can end a life but it also requires states parties to “safeguard life”.

It provides that "Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law" and includes…………….
“A duty to protect people against the risk of harm from the activities of public authorities” (7)

Since there is no such thing as an entirely risk free vaccine, is it possible that enforced vaccination, if it resulted in a lasting injury, would be a violation of Article 2?

Article 8 provides everyone with a right to a “private and family life,” and ensures
“no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right”. (8)

Mr Alfred Morris MP, summed it up precisely when he said “all of us must agree that, by definition of the word “family”, if one member of the family is disabled the family as a whole is disabled ,“ something which, was recognised in the Department of Health, Green Book, Chapter 10 on the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme up until 2016.

Recognising the involvement of the family as a whole, it was stated that an award was intended to “ease the present and future burdens of the vaccine damaged person and their family” (9)

Mandatory vaccination would surely need to include consideration of Article 8 and the impact on family life for both the disabled individual and the family in cases of vaccine induced injury.

Could mandatory vaccinations, in the event of a vaccine injury, be perceived as “an interference of a public authority” re the right to a family life?

Article 24 of The United Nations Convention on the rights of the Child, ensures children have the “best possible health” defined in the 1946 Constitution of the World Health Organisation (WHO), as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. (10)

Proposals to implement mandatory vaccination would need to include consideration of Article 24 in respect of the children whose health, whether mentally, physically, or socially may be negatively affected by a vaccine.

Article 36 protects the child from “any activity that takes advantage of them or could harm their welfare and development” which would surely include any vaccine induced harm which impacts on their well being and their development?

Consideration of any anticipated “irreparable damage” from the implementation of mandatory vaccination needs to include consideration of any potential violations of children’s human rights.

(1) https://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed191684

(2) http://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/vk/faqs-about-vaccines

(3) https://vaccine-safety-training.org/overview-and-outcomes-3.html

(4) Vaccines The British Society for Immunology

https://www.immunology.org › sites › default › files › vaccines-policy-brie..

(5) https://www.historyofvaccines.org/index.php/content/articles/vaccine-inj... compensation-programs

(6) https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2019-06-18/debates/39F33102-C79A-4FC...

(7) https://justice.org.uk/article-2/

(8) http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/42/schedule/1/part/I/chapter/7

(9) Department of Health Green Book Chapter 10 June 2014

(10) Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
The Right to Health
Fact sheet 31

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 October 2019
Wendy E Stephen
Retired nurse
Stonehaven, Scotland