Compulsory vaccination should be discussed – immunovirology specialist

A national discussion on compulsory vaccination is needed, said Liam Fanning, professor of immunovirology at University College Cork.

“The idea needs to be thrown out. It’s worth discussing,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.

Minutes of the Nphet meeting on 16 December show that compulsory vaccination was considered by the team.

“It was noted that Nphet will discuss the issue of compulsory vaccination at a later date and that this discussion will be facilitated by a forthcoming paper from the Department of Health on relevant ethical and legal considerations relating to this topic.”

Prof Fanning pointed out that health care settings already had mandatory vaccination (for other diseases) in “some form”, so it was “not accurate” to say it wasn’t already.

“Some businesses must have a hepatitis vaccine,” he said, while visitors to some countries also required vaccines against tropical diseases, indicating that compulsory vaccination was acceptable in some circumstances. Professor Fanning said he could see that mandatory vaccinations are being made for businesses facing patients or working in public.

The Taoiseach has said in the past that it did not want to see mandatory vaccination for COVID-19, which Prof Fanning said does not appear to have an “appetite” for such a measure.