Are COVID-19 vaccine mandates human rights violations?
Probably not, experts say, because everyone has a fundamental right to be protected from the spread of the disease. Yet, tensions have increased as more vaccine mandates are implemented.
A huge protest in Canada has drawn renewed attention to the issue.
Building trust in COVID-19 vaccines is essential for rebuilding the global economy
We will always have to live with disease outbreaks, of both old and new varieties, ranging from local flare-ups to global pandemics. COVID-19 has shaken the world not only with its impacts on health and lives lost, but also by disrupting “normal” social life and breaking economies. This tumult is all due to a virus for which we had no vaccine or treatment to stop its unchecked spread - facilitated by weak leadership in many places, unprepared systems, and strong anti-globalization sentiment at a time when global cooperation has never been more necessary.
Pandemics are often triggered by a new virus - or a new virus strain - against which humans have no natural protection because they have never been exposed to it before. And, because the virus is new, at the beginning there are no available vaccines. Not all pandemics lead to the development of a vaccine. While vaccine was developed relatively quickly after the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, as it was adapted from an existing influenza vaccine, the HIV/AIDS pandemic - first identified in 1981 - still has no approved vaccine despite extensive investment and research. Nearly 33 million people have died from AIDS-related illness, and every year more people are infected.
One of the challenges for any vaccine that can effectively stop the spread of COVID-19 is the question of whether people will actually take it. Surveys and reports in multiple countries show many people are hesitant to accept a new vaccine, and some are already determined not to take anything to stem COVID-19. The reasons for this include broad vaccine scepticism, and the heightened uncertainty as the media reports on the accelerated pace of vaccine research and development in ways that are not necessarily comforting for a public anxious about related risks.
Some people will be persuaded of the value of the vaccine once they have clear evidence of its effectiveness and safety, but others have lost too much trust in authorities amid a generally inadequate global COVID-19 response. Public trust and cooperation are fundamental to any pandemic response, however - and pandemics offer a global opportunity for new modes of trust-building and cooperation. The promise of COVID-19 vaccines, and the opportunity to improve public perception of the value of vaccination for getting people back to work and school, is an essential part of rebuilding the global economy in a more sustainable way.
These Transformation Maps are informed by the views of a wide range of experts from the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network and are curated in partnership with Heidi Larson, Founding Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project and Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Special thanks to GAVI, IFPMA, and the Red Cross for their contributions
1: Vaccination against pandemics
2: Vaccination for Security
3: Economic and Business Implications of Vaccination
4: Vaccine Hesitancy
5: Trust, Misinformation and Health
6: Vaccination and the Workplace
In the past few decades, morbidity and mortality attributable to vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, and polio have dramatically declined as immunization coverage increased - especially in countries with routine vaccination programs.
However, global vaccine uptake has stagnated as misinformation and anti-vaccination propaganda have spread. Now, amid efforts to vaccinate populations against COVID-19 as swiftly as possible, technology giants are under pressure to remove harmful associated distortions and inaccuracies from their platforms.
This Transformation Map is informed by the views of a wide range of experts from the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network and is curated in partnership with Heidi Larson, Founding Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project and Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Special thanks to GAVI, IFPMA, and the Red Cross for their contributions