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Should COVID-19 Vaccines Be Mandatory

Coronavirus pandemic outbreak in 2019 posed significant health challenges worldwide as fatalities increased daily. Nonetheless, medical research practitioners around the globe revamped their efforts to seek a lasting solution to curb the pandemic. As a consequence, a number of vaccines were produced to help combat the prevalence of the pandemic (Berezow). However, the administration of vaccines has invoked debate in almost every corner of the planet as people argue whether its administration should be made mandatory. In some quarters, the availability of the vaccine presents an opportunity for families to protect themselves, while others see it as a way of governments controlling the population (Reiss). The disease has resulted in rock downs and other movement restriction measures, and as such, the integration of vaccines provides hope for the future. However, vaccines have been developed within a short duration, raising the worldwide concern of its efficacy, safety, accessibility, and public health ethics. In this paper, I will argue, despite the immense benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines, they should not be mandatory for the entire population.

The COVID-19 vaccines should not be made mandatory since their efficacy and safety over the long term usage have not been sufficiently determined. According to an article developed by Berezow (2021), prior to the mandatory issuance of the vaccines. He asserts that people need to know that the vaccine is effective and efficient in the long term and not just in the short term (Berezow). Other vaccines such as MMR and DTaP have been proven to confer protection over a lifetime. Notably, the coronavirus vaccine’s long-term protection is yet to be determined. Additionally, Berezow (2021) asserts that there have been a significant number of clinical trials leading to the development of many doses for administration, stressing that the vaccine is safe. Nevertheless, he holds that vaccines show rare side effects, and as such, the general public is curious to know the side effects prior to making it mandatory (Berezow). Even though the determination of the side effects will take a significant period of time, it is worth the wait. The state governments that are after making it mandatory for the citizens to receive COVID-19 jab ought to address the efficacy and safety of the vaccine irrespective of the time it will take to offer the public health assurances.

Secondly, the COVID-19 vaccines should not be mandatory as there are not enough doses for everyone, mistrust, and legal barriers. According to Reiss (2020), the level of COVID-19 vaccines supply topples the demand around the world. Currently, the number of vaccines required is extremely low compared to a country’s population. As such, a limited capacity in producing the vaccines has raised the question of who is supposed to be prioritized for vaccines rather than making it mandatory (Reiss). The only possibility of mandating the vaccine is when it will be broadly accessible for all, and since it will take a significant period of time, the pandemic may have withered, revoking the need for making the vaccine mandatory. Those prioritized hinges on various factors such as life and its quality. The vaccine’s effectiveness and benefits largely depend on the relevant public and their perception of the benefits (Alberto et al., 350). The notion of saving as many as possible from coronavirus involves ensuring life quality healthcare system protection, and protecting the essential services for the general population, disregarding the need for legislation.

Mistrust surrounding the vaccine development and issuance makes it futile for the vaccine to be easily accepted by everyone. According to a poll done by Gallup in the United States, approximately a third of the population would decline free issuance of the vaccine even though approved by the FDA and ready (Reiss). Even though this can be attributed to lack of information and the spread of false information, there is increased skepticism and concerns on the rationale behind why various states opt for mandatory jabs. This has been escalated by masks, and social distance politics and enforcement amid mistrust will increasingly elevate the vaccine uptake resistance. In the united states, mandatory vaccine, especially among adults, faces significant legal issues, and their issuance will likely result in legal battles in the court of law (Reiss). Therefore, before making the vaccine mandatory, the states should ensure the public has sufficient information concerning vaccines to build trust and minimize the likelihood of legal battles challenging the mandate.

Another reason why COVID-19 vaccines should not be made mandatory is that the sanctions will not increase their uptake. Previous research carried out under the watch of the European Union about epidemics and pandemics revealed that vaccines uptake does not increase following the government’s mandate. In countries where the vaccination process is mandatory, it does not result in increased coverage. Based on assertions of the Nuffield Council of Bioethics, mandatory vaccination is essential for contagious and serious infections, and even though coronavirus is highly contagious, it is not classified as a “high-consequence infectious disease” as its fatality rate is low and the availability of a plethora of methods that can curb its spread (Alberto & Jain). The virus is strongly associated with the population’s age, developing differing perceptions concerning vulnerability. According to research, among the adults above eighty years, the fatality rate is 7.8%, while among the children who are nine years and below, the rate is 0.0016%. In such a case, forcing vaccination on those that are not vulnerable, healthy, and at low risk can be disputed based on public health ethics.

The positive benefits of the vaccine can only be realized through consolidated efforts, prioritizing the vulnerable groups, educating the public, elimination of barriers, and delivery system rather than making it mandatory. Jain, an “NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Public Health Medicine,” gave an example of the devastating efforts polio caused in 1990 in India. He stated that an average of seven hundred children were getting paralyzed every day. However, two decades later, the virus had already been eradicated (Alberto & Jain). He stresses that the efforts did not require legislation but rather collaborative efforts to curtail the infection. The government ensured the local delivery system to vulnerable communities was revamped through investment while political leaders collaborated with the religious leaders leading to the fruition of their efforts. As such, there is no justification for mandatory COVID-19 vaccines as the roll-out will take a significant period of time, requiring communication and trust in the process (Alberto et al. 350). Increased transparency concerning the development of the vaccine is essential in elevating the fight against the pandemic. Even though institutes monitor the vaccine development process, the public needs transparency, especially on clinical trial data, to gain their trust and help them make an informed decision concerning its uptake.

Despite the highlighted reasons why the COVID-19 vaccine should not be mandatory, there is an increased risk of being infected among healthcare practitioners and ordinary people. As such, various healthcare facilities ought to incorporate protocols to prevent the increased prevalence of the disease to the most vulnerable groups. Adopting mandatory vaccination would be effective for certain groups, given the vaccines’ wide range of benefits. The ethical reasoning behind mandating the vaccine hinges on preventing harm to others. It minimizes the risk of infection and infecting others and consequently killing them. Various vaccines such as Moderna and AstraZeneca have been approved with an effectiveness of 92.5% in preventing and stopping the likelihood of the virus spreading. Besides, the pandemic has invoked mandatory lockdown and, similar to mandatory vaccination, aims at protecting the people at risk of the infection (Alberto & Jain). Alberto, a “Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics,” argued that even though mandatory lockdown results in enormous individual and societal costs, it would be inconsistent for the general public to accept lockdown but reject vaccination (Alberto & Jain). He holds that mandatory vaccination promises a greater good at a smaller cost than mandatory lockdowns. The researcher associates mandatory vaccination with mandatory seatbelts, which have proven to minimize the number of fatalities. They are widely adopted despite the small risks they possess, and similar to the pandemic, the vaccine should be likened to a seatbelt to protect each other. The infection is highly contagious with an easy method of transmission, and the adoption of mandatory vaccination policies would avert its progress.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 vaccine should not be mandatory. This is because the efficacy and safety of the vaccine are yet to be determined. The long-term effects have not been evaluated adequately since it was developed within a short time. Also, mistrust and legal issues pose significant barriers to the uptake of the vaccine to the general public. The benefits of the vaccines can be realized through collaborative efforts between the communities, investment in logistics systems to ensure easier distribution, massive sensitization of the public, and increased transparency on trial data and long-term effects of the vaccines. Nonetheless, the adoption of vaccines should be made mandatory on a specific population such as those vulnerable and healthcare professionals who are frontline soldiers (Alberto et al. 354). The vulnerable can easily be overwhelmed by the disease, while the physicians can easily spread to the patients making it futile to contain the pandemic.

Works Cited

Berezow, Alex. “Should COVID Vaccines Be Mandatory?” American Council on Science and Health, 5 Feb. 2021,

Giubilini, Alberto, Julian Savulescu, and Dominic Wilkinson. “Queue questions: Ethics of COVID‐19 vaccine prioritization.” Bioethics 35.4 (2021): 348-355.

Giubilini, Alberto, and Vageesh Jain. “Should COVID-19 Vaccines Be Mandatory? Two Experts Discuss.” The Conversation, 25 Nov. 2020,

Reiss, Dorit. “Why a COVID-19 Vaccine Shouldn’t Be Mandatory.” Bill of Health, 15 Sept. 2020,


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