Ombudsman: Latvia can impose a compulsory vaccination policy

Every day residents ask the ombudsman many questions related to compulsory Covid-19 vaccination. Residents ask the ombudsman to explain just how legally justified such a measure really is.
The ombudsman stresses that the Epidemiological Safety Law already authorizes the Cabinet of Ministers to decide if it is necessary to declare compulsory vaccination for certain infectious diseases. This means the Cabinet of Ministers has the right to make vaccination compulsory.
It is important to note here that vaccination cannot be enforced. However, there is the option to adopt indirect mechanisms to promote and control execution of vaccination, ombudsman says.
These mechanisms may take the shape of restrictions on certain services, for example. Restrictions are linked to objective reasons, such as making it so that certain services are permitted to be provided only in an epidemiologically safe environment, explains Jansons.
In the event of failure of execution of vaccination duty, it may be necessary to limit only the services that are not considered important.
Pension payment restriction of cessation would not be acceptable.
The Cabinet of Ministers may choose to make vaccination a duty for specific groups of people based on objective criteria, age included. However, it is important to make sure control of this requirement is done indirectly. On the other hand, it may be difficult to adopt effective mechanisms within certain age groups because of that.
The ombudsman notes that when it comes to vaccination there needs to be a mechanism that would make it possible for residents to present objective reasons why he or she cannot vaccinate. Health problems and risks of anaphylactic shock are definitely some of the objective reasons.
It should be mentioned that the real objective behind limiting residents’ fundamental rights with compulsory vaccination is protecting people’s health and welfare.
Vaccination is the way Latvia can use to protect residents from Covid-19 and prevent further damages.
Compulsory vaccination for Covid-19 may be an appropriate response for the immediate need to protect public health and reduce the infection level. Voluntary vaccination policy is not enough to reach and maintain crowd immunity.