Under current legislation, vaccines are not compulsory.
Legislation gives the government the power to prevent, control or mitigate the spread of an infection or contamination. However, it explicitly outlines it cannot require a person to undertake medical treatment, including vaccination. In the UK, vaccination is the choice of the individual or parent as to whether they or their child is vaccinated.
However, vaccines help protect all of us from serious, often fatal illnesses. Vaccines are recommended by most governments and doctors to keep populations safe from outbreaks to combat a range of diseases from Polio to Typhoid.
Taking the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended by the government and NHS.
Could the COVID-19 vaccine become compulsory?
It is unlikely the COVID-19 vaccine will become compulsory for everyone in the UK, as no other vaccine currently holds that legal status. The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, which applies in England and Wales, gives the government powers to prevent, control or mitigate the spread of an infection or contamination. However, it explicitly states that regulations cannot require a person to undertake medical treatment, including vaccination. The Coronavirus Act introduced in March 2020 extended this prohibition to Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, told ITV Wales: ‘I wouldn’t rule out anything at this point but mandation is at the most extreme end and the most unlikely’.