Re-visiting mandatory vaccination for COVID-19: evidence and ethics

Vaccines are one of the most effective tools for protecting people against COVID-19. Consequently, some governments and institutions have made COVID-19 vaccination ‘mandatory’ to increase vaccination rates and achieve public health goals, and others may be considering doing the same. Yet, given the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and evolving evidence regarding the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against novel variants of concern (e.g., Omicron), the number of doses necessary to achieve public health objectives, and durability of protection, the scientific and ethical justification for mandatory vaccination for COVID-19 is similarly shifting and may be waning. This seminar will take stock of where countries find themselves with respect to the pandemic and explore this present context for evaluating the ethics of mandatory vaccination for COVID-19.