Vaccination and rights

By Nikos Mouzelis*

In the social sciences, as regards knowledge, there is no universality. No theory that ignores the social framework is persuasive. Every generalisation that ignores that framework is commonplace.
I will try to clarify this position using vaccination as an example. Thinking citizens everywhere consider the pandemic am "invisible enemy" that endangers everyone's health. Often, the COVID-19 virus leads to death.

In other words, it is an emergency situation comparable to war, a condition in which certain rights are limited or abolished. For example, when a country is destroyed or subjugated, the reaction is a general mobilisation in which all individuals who are eligible to serve are drafted by the army to go to war.

In Greece, a large segment of the population believe they have the right not to be vaccinated, some due to excessive fear of the possible side-effects of the vaccines, some due to obscurantism, some because they detest learning, and others because they are victims of conspiracy theories.

The New Democracy government chose a strategy of persuasion. It tolerated even doctors and healthcare workers not getting the SARS-Co-V-2 vaccine. An "authoritarian" compulsory vaccination was viewed as a violation of every citizen's right to refuse it.

As Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, "I cannot grab anyone by the neck to make vaccination compulsory (Kathimerini, 4 July). This stance led to an increase in COVID-19 cases and more deaths.

After months of delaying, the government decided to impose mandatory vaccination for doctors and healthcare workers and employees at old age homes.

That measure was decided belatedly and it is insufficient.

Naturally, the same issue has preoccupied most...

Continue reading on: