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“Vaccination strategies are only lawful if proportionate”, President says

Saint Petersburg Forum

“States must ensure that no one is discriminated against for not having been vaccinated against Covid-19, whether due to possible health risks or not wanting to be vaccinated,” the PACE President said today, addressing the Saint Petersburg International Legal Forum on ‘Vaccination by Law’.

While stressing that vaccination is crucial for public health protection and that States have a responsibility to ensure good public health provision and high immunisation coverage, Rik Daems underlined that “vaccination strategies are only lawful if proportionate”.

Repressive tools may “prove counterproductive, increasing mistrust and opposition to vaccination”, he pointed out. A better and faster way to overcome resistance from those who do not want to get vaccinated remains to inform them to do so rather than trying to convince them to do so against their will.

Combating vaccine hesitancy “should be done first and foremost through awareness-raising and education. The Covid-19 pandemic has proved once again the importance of engagement and communication. States need to build trust and provide clear, transparent and reliable information”, the PACE President said.