Foreign Affairs
European Court decision in support of mandatory MMR vaccination for children

The European Court of Human Rights has come out in support of the Government of the Czech Republic obliging parents to vaccinate their children with the MMR vaccine before the latter start school.

The case ended up before the European Court as a result of families who had been fined or whose children were not allowed to start school because they had not been vaccinated.

In a historic decision, the Court stated that whilst Czech law interfered with the right to one’s private life, there is the need to safeguard public health.

These cases occurred before the pandemic.

However, the vaccination issue re-surfaced again because of the spread of Covid-19.

This is the first decision on mandatory vaccination against child illnesses by the European Court of Human Rights.

According to Czech law, parents are legally obliged to vaccinate their children against various childhood illnesses, unless this is not possible because of health reasons.

However, the vaccine cannot be given forcefully, and non-vaccinated children cannot be excluded on this basis once they reach secondary school age.

In one of five cases, a family refused to vaccinate their daughter against measles, mumps and rubella. better known as MMR.

The Czech Republic is not the only EU country that obliges children to be vaccinated in childhood.

Last year Germany introduced a law that obliges parents to vaccinate their children against measles or face a 2,500 euro fine.