Should the covid vaccine be mandatory?

Should the coronavirus vaccine be mandatory? Should travel be restricted to those unvaccinated? What do you think? These are the issues being debated right now. The EU has a plan to get all vaccine data in passports and control travel accordingly.

Much of this depends on proven effectiveness and safety of a vaccine. People live in an illusion that a vaccine might be like the smallpox vaccine – 100% effective. Flu vaccines, in over 60 year olds, vary between 10 and 50% effective.

‘Safety’ depends on trials and, ultimately, monitoring hundreds of thousands of people over at least a year and reporting adverse events accurately. Currently, there’s no placebo trial on the Oxford vaccine – just a comparison to the meningitis vaccine. So, the best that could be said is that the reported immediate or short-term adverse effects are no worse than those of the meningitis vaccine. The last swine flu vaccine, Pandemrix, passed the safety trial tests only to fall foul over one year later when post-surveillance showed it caused narcolepsy. Subsequently, it had to be withdrawn.

So, how quickly should people be ‘jumping in’ for a vaccine before post-surveillance is done (which can only be done if enough first wavers have the vaccine)? And how effective will it be?

According to Sky news only half of Britons say they would get a vaccine, according to a poll. Younger people were twice as likely to reject a vaccine than 55 to 75-year-olds, the study shows.

A parliamentary petitition, launched last week, to “Prevent any restrictions on those who refuse a Covid-19 vaccination” has had over 65,000 sign ups already. To force a parliamentary debate requires 100,000 to sign it. Those signing are asserting “I want the Government to prevent any restrictions being placed on those who refuse to have any potential Covid-19 vaccine. This includes restrictions on travel, social events, such as concerts or sports. No restrictions whatsoever.”

You don’t have to be an ‘antivaxxer’ to sign it. You might be pro-vaccines generally but not forced medication. I’m not an ant-vaxxer, but nor am I a vaccine damage denier. There are risks and benefits and it takes time to find out realistically what the risks are. i do also believe in freedom of choice.

The desire of a person to be vaccinated is also influenced by their perceived risk of death or serious illness if you were to become infected. Of course, if you’ve read my book Flu Fighters and the supporting material at you’ll know there is so much you can do to support your own healthy and strong immune response against a virus, which is all a vaccine does – that is give your immune system a ‘head up’ fighting chance.

Some would say we all should be to protect the vulnerable (herd immunity) but herd immunity isn’t really relevant for an up to 50% effective vaccine.

What’s your view? Are you going to sign this petition? I’d like to know and why or why not?

Sign the petition here.