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Voluntary vaccination : the pandemic effect.

Cave, Emma (2017) 'Voluntary vaccination : the pandemic effect.', Legal studies., 37 (2). pp. 279-304.


Justification of a voluntary vaccination policy in England and Wales rests on tenuous foundations. Two arguments against voluntary vaccination are gaining ground. The first is that globalisation necessitates preparedness strategies for pandemics. Assuming sufficient supply, compulsory vaccination of adults and children constitutes a potential policy option in the context of a severe, vaccine-preventable pandemic outbreak. The second argument is that children have a right to preventative medicine and thus to vaccination. The influence of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its emphasis on parents as the trustees of their children’s best interests, and the increasingly global nature of our collective and individual responsibilities with respect to the transmission of vaccine-preventable disease present challenges to the right to refuse vaccination on our own behalf and on behalf of our children. Exploring methods of compulsion and persuasion utilised across Europe, the United States and Australia, this article argues that necessity and proportionality must be reassessed and national public health law and policy setting out a graduated and proportionate approach to compulsory vaccination developed as a matter of priority.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is the accepted version of the following article: Cave, Emma (2017). Voluntary Vaccination: The Pandemic Effect. Legal Studies, 37(2): 279-304, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Date accepted:14 June 2016
Date deposited:14 June 2016
Date of first online publication:01 December 2016
Date first made open access:01 December 2018

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