Does Ukraine need compulsory vaccination?

Author : Natalia Lebed

Source : 112 Ukraine

The coronavirus continues to embrace the planet, and the world is preparing for vaccinations against Covid-19
11:00, 14 December 2020

Open source

The coronavirus continues to embrace the planet, and the world is preparing for vaccinations against Covid-19. Ukraine also discusses the possibility of vaccination, even at the legislative level. The parliament registered bill No. 4142, in which MPs propose to vaccinate against ten diseases mandatory: diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, poliomyelitis, tetanus, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis B, mumps, rubella, pneumococcal and hemophilic infections.

In this bill, the coronavirus is not mentioned at all. However, it is quite obvious that when vaccination against it becomes possible, the people's representatives will simply continue this list with one more nomination. Of course, on condition that the document passes the crucible of the Verkhovna Rada. Now the consideration of this bill has been postponed indefinitely.

Related: Vaccination campaign in Ukraine could kick off in March 2021, - Healthcare Ministry

Meanwhile, the issue of vaccination in Ukraine is causing insane discussions. Without a doubt, they will become even hotter if the deputies still vote for the mandatory vaccination norm. Recently, even the World Health Organization opposed compulsory vaccination. However, it was stressed that governments must work to increase the level of confidence in vaccination. Michael Ryan, WHO's director of health emergencies, noted that people have to make their own decisions about whether or not they need to get vaccinated. By the way, the current legislation also speaks about it.

So, the first argument "for" is that the so-called herd immunity consists of the individual immunity of a vaccinated person. Simply put: the more people are vaccinated, the fewer cases of severe illness or death in society will be.


Let's look at this using smallpox as an example. This is one of the oldest and most common diseases on the planet, from which 1.5 million people die every year. This continued until the end of the 18th century when the English physician Edward Jenner invented the vaccine. However, it took almost two more centuries for smallpox to be overcome by vaccination.

There is no historical record of whether smallpox vaccination was voluntary or mandatory. In the Soviet Union, babies were vaccinated against smallpox while still in the hospital, without asking their parents' opinion. As a result, in 1980, the WHO announced that there was no more smallpox left on Earth. Her virus, according to doctors, has been completely eradicated. This was the consequence of the total vaccination.

Related: Ukraine's Health Ministry on who will be the first to get vaccinated

In the future, WHO made the refusal of vaccination one of the biggest threats to humanity. Immunization, according to the organization, prevents 2-3 million deaths worldwide every year, and another 1.5 million people can be saved if vaccination coverage increases.

Another example is related to measles. In 2018, in Samoa (a state in Polynesia), only 31% of children received the measles vaccine. And already in 2019, the country was seized by a powerful outbreak of this disease. Similar examples can be cited when talking about the refusal of vaccination and about other diseases. Another effect of total vaccination lies in the economic plane. In particular, this issue is relevant now, when many countries of the world are introducing lockdown due to the coronavirus epidemic. There will be no epidemic - there will be no quarantine, and there will be no quarantine - there will be no losses for the business and the budget as a whole. Kyiv School of Economics says that at the end of 2020 Ukraine will miss 5.4% of its GDP, and the "weighted average fall" of world economies is estimated at 7.8% of GDP. And this is in addition to rising unemployment and a worsening social climate: an increase in the level of domestic violence, for example, associated with sitting in isolation.

Scientists are convinced that the coronavirus can be dealt with through vaccination. That is why now the question of creating an effective vaccine and its delivery are perhaps the most important on the agenda.

The main counter-argument against vaccination remains the certain risk that this procedure carries. Vaccination can be a trigger for the development of comorbidities.

In 2008, 17-year-old Anton from Kramatorsk died after being vaccinated against measles-mumps-rubella (MMR). Another hundred high school students in the Donetsk region were hospitalized, after which the campaign was suspended, and they tried to investigate the case, but it never came to court.

Multiply this tragedy by the likely compulsory coronavirus vaccination and we get a public explosion, which is also, in fact, an argument against vaccination.

One more "against" argument. There is a thesis about vaccine overload: they say that several vaccines applied at the same time can weaken the immature immune system of the child and lead to adverse consequences. By the way, this is also stated in the conclusions of the scientific and expert department of the Verkhovna Rada, which analyzed bill No. 4142.


In addition – and this is another counterargument – not every child can be vaccinated against everything. A poor-quality or falsified vaccine can get into Ukraine - as it already happened in the Donetsk region in 2008. Former deputy head of the State Inspectorate for Drug Quality Control Kostyantyn Kosyachenko warns of such a possibility just now. A vaccine, however, is more difficult to counterfeit than any other drug, because it has certain storage requirements, but a counterfeit cannot be completely ruled out.

One more argument is that Ukraine has no mechanisms of compensation for victims of vaccination. The very existence of such a mechanism is a guarantee that the vaccination campaign will go smoothly – even if it never has to be used.

The next argument is more about the realm of biology than ineffective public administration. Opponents of the coronavirus vaccine ask a logical question: why get vaccinated if the virus mutates anyway? The flu virus also mutates, making vaccines less effective against it.

This is indeed the case, and a recent study from University College London identified 198 repetitive mutations in the coronavirus. One of the study's authors, Professor François Balloux, said: "Mutations in themselves are not a bad thing, and there is nothing to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 mutates faster or slower than expected."

Related: Does Ukraine need compulsory vaccination against COVID-19?

Finally, no one can be subjected to forced medical manipulation, Ukrainian laws say.

So, in particular, for persons under the age of fifteen, and those who are recognized as legally incompetent in the manner prescribed by law, preventive vaccinations are carried out only with the consent of their objectively informed parents or other legal representatives.

If the person and (or) his legal representatives refuse compulsory prophylactic vaccinations, the doctor has the right to take from them the corresponding written confirmation, and in case of refusal - to certify this by an act in the presence of witnesses. This is part 6 of Art. 12 of the Law "On Protection of the Population from Infectious Diseases." In addition, in accordance with Part 4 of Art. 284 of the Civil Code, an adult capable natural person who understands the significance of his actions and can control them, has the right to refuse treatment.

And, finally, Articles 42 and 43 of the Law "Fundamentals of Ukrainian Legislation on Health Care" state that medical intervention is allowed only if it cannot harm the patient's health.

Related: Mass vaccination starts in U.S.: Nurse from New York gets the first shot

And since no one gives a 100% guarantee of vaccination safety, the compulsory vaccination is against both the campaign itself and against the authors of bill No. 4142 mentioned at the beginning. His findings also contain a reminder that the general level of mistrust in domestic medicine is higher than in European countries, and reaches 63%. "Therefore, increasing the level of vaccination of the population requires comprehensive measures to increase confidence in the health care system of Ukraine," the experts are convinced.

Thus, the arguments against vaccination (even more so - mandatory) are quite weighty. However, as are the arguments for. Obviously, there will soon be some changes in the legislation and in the supply of vaccines against coronavirus, and then the vaccine-related discussions will enter a new circle.

Related: Covid-19 vaccination in Ukraine to be free for population, - official

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