Jurists agree mandatory vaccination should be expert decision

Ljubljana – As part of a debate on mandatory vaccination on Tuesday, jurists noted that such a decision should be first and foremost an expert decision, and only then a political decision. Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik said he advocated introduction of mandatory vaccination.

Tina Drolec Sladojević, Nataša Pirc Musar and Dino Bauk wondered whether it was possible to introduce mandatory vaccination within the existing legislative system.

Minister Koritnik said he advocated mandatory vaccination, adding that he had never asked himself which government was in power before any vaccination and he would advise the same to other people.

According to Pirc Musar, the right not to be vaccinated does not exist. However, the state is first obligated to order experts to assess whether the time was to call for mandatory vaccination.

She added that a decision should be made from the aspect of the principle of proportionality as to whether to introduce mandatory vaccination for all people or only for certain groups.

Pirc Musar also noted that, before introducing mandatory vaccination, the government should first make a thorough analysis and find out whether it would be possible to arrive at the same effect as provided by vaccination with more lenient measures.

The government should have done the same before introducing the mandatory recovered-vaccinated (PC) rule in the state administration, which she interprets as mandatory vaccination. “There are simply no such analyses.”

Noting the attempts to “vaccinate civil servants as an example”, Pirc Musar said that from the aspect of sustainability of healthcare, it would make more sense to introduce mandatory vaccination for employees in health institutions and care homes.

Bauk noted that the constitution obliged the state to provide a healthy living environment, and that the relevant act obliged the state to prevent outbreaks of communicable diseases.

He added that under the act, the state can put Covid-19 vaccination on the list of mandatory vaccinations, but beforehand the Health Ministry would have to put such vaccines on the list on proposal of the National Institute for Public Health.

Bauk thinks that this option has not been considered. “What is mostly lacking is the state taking over the responsibility if it thinks that vaccination is a way out of the epidemic.”

Drolec Sladojević said that a person could not be forced into treatment, unless this was stipulated by the communicable diseases act, which provided the state with the option of deciding whether to introduce mandatory vaccination.

Bauk noted that, under the act, introduction of mandatory vaccination was in the jurisdiction of the health minister, assessing that “valid acts are not being taken very seriously in Slovenia.”

Pirc Musar also pointed to the problem of the government “ruling with decrees” ever since the start of the epidemic, which was one of the reasons people do not opt to get vaccinated.

The national vaccination logistics coordinator Jelko Kacin, who was in the audience, said that it was not “comfortable, or done with ease” in reference of Pirc Musar’s assessment of how the government adopts these decrees.

He said that experts only make recommendations, while never assuming the political responsibility, which was assumed by the government.

While looking for the reasons for a low vaccination rate in Slovenia, Kacin pointed to the low rate for vaccination against flu in recent years, which is why he believes that a 50% Covid-19 vaccination is actually a success for Slovenia.