- 26 May 2021
- 3 min read
Should Access To NHS Services Be Contingent On A Person’s Vaccination Status?Subscribe To Advice
UPDATE: Given the responses to this article so far, I felt it necessary to clarify some points. This isn't an idea originating with us, it can be found in mainstream media discussion.
Some of the sources that prompted this article are:
Open discussion about difficult issues should not be avoided in a democratic society. The article was simply meant to spark debate and comment about an issue already in the public domain.
On a personal note I would say that the idea of restricting healthcare to the unvaccinated is one I disagree with in the strongest terms.
The discussions around the COVID vaccines, and the moral and ethical considerations of coercing compliance beg the question; should a person’s access to healthcare be restricted if they refuse a vaccine on non-medical grounds?
As the Government seems increasingly uncertain about completing their lockdown easing plan on June 21st, there are comments in the media and elsewhere attempting to pin the blame for any potential delay in the unlocking on people who have refused a COVID vaccine.
Can there be any moral or ethical justification for denying someone access to healthcare based on their vaccination status? Comment 💬 Like ❤️ Reply 🙂 below.
This article does not make any comment about the vaccination programme or its efficacy. It is merely an attempt to address what for now is a hypothetical moral question.
Loaded, and historically dangerous terms such as ‘refusenik’ are being bandied around by government ministers in interviews. Newspaper columnists and other prominent personalities have labelled the unvaccinated as ‘selfish’, ‘idiots’, ‘weapons-grade stupid’ and variations thereupon.
A prominent theme in this cacophony is the idea that those people who choose not to have a vaccine should not be permitted NHS treatment if they fall ill with COVID, or indeed anything else.
Do people have what a journalist in The Independent newspaper called a ‘societal obligation’ to have the vaccine, in order to protect others? Do the needs of others outweigh a person’s right to bodily autonomy?
Given that the NHS is funded from everyone’s taxes, there is no talk of tax exemptions for those people who would theoretically be unable to use the service for which they have paid. So, in effect barring unvaccinated people from NHS treatment would undermine the social contract under which people are willingly taxed to pay for healthcare and other social services.
If a plan to restrict healthcare for the unvaccinated ever does come into being, should there be a mechanism by which those ineligible to use health services are exempted from paying for them?
The WHO Constitution of 1946 stated: “Governments have a responsibility for the health of their peoples which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures.”
The COVID vaccines are being provided by the state. Does the state have a right to argue that the unvaccinated should have certain treatments made unavailable as the treatment costs potentially incurred could have conceivably been avoided by having taken the vaccine?
A right to healthcare is also protected under the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so it would be legally dubious to attempt to bar certain people from being able to access healthcare should they need it.
If the government is not going to legislate for mandatory vaccination, should they end up using social pressure to coerce people into getting the vaccine?
Should the government seek to coerce people into taking a vaccine by restricting an unvaccinated person’s access to healthcare as a consequence of their choice not to have a vaccine?
Or does the threat of removal of healthcare violate a principal of the informed consent a subject has to give before they have a vaccine administered?
Please let us know what you think in the comments, and Like the article if you found it interesting. Read and learn more about NHS Non-Registered Support Staff.