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ICCL opposes Czech Republic rule making vaccination mandatory for school children

DUBLIN: The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) opposes the stance of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the Czech Republic.

The Czech Republic announced yesterday that children who have not been vaccinated would be barred from attending pre-school, which was supported by the ECHR. But the Irish Council for Civil Liberties opposed their stance on students.

The ICCL argues that mandating vaccination for school children will complicate and undermine the vaccination program.

The rule introduced by the Czech Republic is not new. It was introduced prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and was linked to common vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella, polio and hepatitis.

The rule requires parents to vaccinate their children unless they are medically unable to do so. But the ECHR says that the rule was necessary to protect public health event though it interferes on the right to private family life.

However, experts believe that this legislation will not work in Ireland. Conor Casey, a lecturer at the University of Constitutional Law in Liverpool, said attempts to bring in similar rules in Ireland would be a constitutional issue.

Liam Herrick, Executive Director of the ICCL, also said that Ireland has a “strong Constitutional right to bodily integrity here and the right to refuse medical treatment.”

Mr. Herrick warned that any attempt to mandate vaccination could do more harm than good. “The decision that has been taken in Ireland traditionally, and it is still the position now, is that actually having vaccines on a voluntary basis but encouraging compliance leads to better results,” he added.

Mr. Herrick also said that the Irish people have confidence in the country’s vaccine program. “There is a feeling in our public health system that making it mandatory could actually undermine the message and could play to the vaccine sceptics,” he added.

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