In this article for the French journal Revue Des Droites Et Libertes Fondamentaux, Philippe Segur, professor of public law at the University of Perpignan Via Domitia, discussed whether it was legal to make COVID vaccination compulsory. He said, “the issue of compulsory vaccination…is rarely mentioned from the angle that should be its own: that of medical experimentation on which the rules of European Union law are clearly established”.
Some of the important points discussed in this article include:
- COVID vaccination is in the experimental phase, and the data is not yet complete. This is clearly indicated by the European public assessment reports (EPAR) submitted within the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for Pfizer and Moderna. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca will still need to submit “final clinical study reports” on May 31, 2022 and Johnson & Johnson on December 31, 2023.
- No carcinogenicity studyA study designed to identify substances in the vaccine which can cause cancer was conducted for Moderna. No genotoxicityA study designed to detect the risk of gene mutations, change in the number or structure of a cell, or DNA damage or carcinogenicity study was conducted for Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.
- The experimental nature of the COVID vaccines invites the jurists to recontextualize its use. As both domestic law and international law have created the concept of informed consent as a safeguard to prevent any abuses.
The article goes on to explain that informed consent is protected by law. In France, it is called the Jarde law which explicitly states that “no intervention research involving the human person can be carried out ‘without their free and informed consent obtained in writing, after having been given the information provided”.
Segur also reiterates that at least in France, the law is based on the principle of the inviolability of the human body and the dignity of the person. Even if mandatory vaccinations have been implemented in the past “in the interest of public health”, the case of COVID vaccines is incomparable. Old vaccines (for example, those given to children) are long-studied and have data for assessment, whereas COVID vaccines are still in the experimentation phase. There is no legal framework that will allow governments to experimental COVID vaccines.
To close the article, Segur says, “If the idea of scientific neutrality is an illusion, the mere use of the term ‘ethics’ in legal texts is not sufficient to guarantee its harmlessness. Even when research is strictly framed by law, the principle of free consent often seems fragile in the asymmetrical relationship between medical authority and the subject. It is difficult to see, moreover, how consent could be completely ‘informed’ in the presence of unknown risk and a complex vaccination technique.”
Editor’s Note: Though this article was written for France, this is applicable to many countries around the world. With this knowledge in the background, we wonder how the French will act now, following the passing of a mandatory vaccination rule for medical workers.https://bnn-news.com/france-requires-mandatory-vaccination-for-medical-staff-226411 Whatever the French do at this point will reverberate around the world, as many governments have been itching to do the same in their own countries.
Will the French courts uphold the “inviolability of the human body and the dignity of the person” enshrined by their own laws? We sure hope they will, because that decision is not only for France, but for the world.
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|↩1||A study designed to identify substances in the vaccine which can cause cancer|
|↩2||A study designed to detect the risk of gene mutations, change in the number or structure of a cell, or DNA damage|