Vaccine Mandates in the COVID-19 Era: Changing Paradigm or Public Health Opportunity?; Comment on “Convergence on Coercion: Functional and Political Pressures as Drivers of Global Childhood Vaccine Mandates”

Document Type : Commentary


1 Department of Public Health Experimental and Forensic Medicine, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

2 Collegio Ca’ della Paglia, Fondazione Ghislieri, Pavia, Italy


The debate around vaccine mandates has flourished over the last decade, with several countries introducing or extending mandatory childhood vaccinations. In a recent study, Attwell and Hannah explore how functional and political pressures added to public health threats in selected countries, motivating governments to increase the coerciveness of their childhood vaccine regimes. In this commentary, we reflect on whether such model applies to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) case and how the pandemic has re-shuffled the deck around vaccine mandates. We identify COVID-19 immunisation policies’ distinctive aspects as we make the case of countries implementing mass immunisation programmes while relying on digital COVID-19 certificates as an indirect form of mandate to increase vaccine uptake. We conclude by acknowledging that different forms of mandatory vaccination might serve as a shortcut to protect population health in times of emergency, underlining, however, that the ultimate public health goal is to promote voluntary, informed, and responsible adherence to preventive behaviours.


Main Subjects

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  • Receive Date: 14 August 2022
  • Revise Date: 29 November 2022
  • Accept Date: 30 November 2022
  • First Publish Date: 03 December 2022