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Durham e-Theses
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Mandatory Vaccination for Healthcare Professionals: Preparation for Future Pandemics

MCNEILL, CLARA,ELIZABETH (2022) Mandatory Vaccination for Healthcare Professionals: Preparation for Future Pandemics. Masters thesis, Durham University.

PDF (MJur Thesis) - Accepted Version


The government’s reactionary response to Covid-19 has highlighted the overall inadequacy of UK pandemic preparedness planning. The circumstances required rapid decision-making, often at the expense of sufficient time and resources to recognise their potential social, ethical, and legal ramifications - one such example is the now retracted ‘Vaccination as a Condition of Deployment’ for healthcare professionals.

Vaccination mandates can be legally and ethically justified; however, their justification is contingent upon a number of conditions and considerations, including the contexts within which they are implemented. This thesis establishes a duty incumbent on doctors to treat in a pandemic and structures this duty as a duty to treat safely. The duty to be vaccinated is thus grounded in this duty and reinforced by the need to ensure continuity of healthcare services during a pandemic. It is argued that if voluntary vaccination is insufficient to mitigate the impacts of the virus, vaccine mandates must be considered. Using the principle of the least restrictive alternative, a four-step test is proposed to determine when and in what form a mandate should be introduced. Thus, it is argued that when vaccine mandates are justified on the basis of these criteria, they are not unfairly discriminatory and the level of coercion they involve is ethically acceptable. Ultimately, the aim of this thesis is to identify, articulate, and explain the salient ethical and legal considerations so that policymakers may proactively engage with them in advance of future pandemics.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Jurisprudence
Keywords:Covid, Vaccination, NHS, Pandemic, Healthcare, Compulsory Treatment, Best Interests
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Law, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:12 Dec 2022 15:55

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