Seven out of ten people should already be vaccinated against the coronavirus by the end of the summer. That continues to be the government’s goal , despite problems with drug supply dosages. While the population is pinning its hopes on the antidotes for a return to life without restrictions and those who distrust drugs are increasingly in the minority , these days legal doubts resonate: Can those who refuse to be vaccinated be fined? Could the mandatory vaccine be made in Spain?
The debate has been stirred as a result of the Galician parliament approving on Tuesday a reform of the Galician Health Law that establishes sanctions for different public health infractions, among them, the “unjustified” refusal to vaccination “prescribed by the health authorities”. In that case, the fines would be up to 60,000 euros, “when there is a very serious risk or damage to the health of the population.”
“The law approved by the Galician Parliament includes as an administrative offense the refusal to be vaccinated when it has been ordered by the competent authority. That is, if the COVID-19 vaccination were declared mandatory, it could be sanctioned in Galicia for breaching that obligation, which which seems reasonable.
Now, this does not mean that vaccination is mandatory, ” Víctor Soriano , lawyer and professor of Administrative Law at the European University of Valencia , explains to RTVE.es.
The Ministry of Health has defended since the beginning of the campaign that the coronavirus vaccine would be voluntary. In our country it is always like this, even if the vaccination records contain “recommendations” for minors and adults.
Thus, according to the lawyer and president of the Health Law Association of the Valencian Community, Carlos Fornes , the obligation to be vaccinated, which affects fundamental rights such as physical integrity, “must be legislated by a state body , It is not contemplated that an autonomous community can do it ”.
“What Galicia has done is to develop the Organic Law of Special Measures, which serves as a complement to the General Law of Public Health. This organic law allows exceptionalities in the fight against the pandemic ”, Fornes develops, emphasizing in his explanation that we are faced with exceptional circumstances that require exceptional measures.
But can you force yourself to be vaccinated?
According to the jurists consulted, one of the keys to the dilemma is what is the limit to those “exceptional measures ” that Fornes pointed out.
“Galicia is trying to create a regulatory framework that allows them to adopt a forced vaccine if they consider it appropriate,” says Íñigo de Miguel, a researcher at the University of the Basque Country and member of the Spanish Association of Health Law, who admits that there are reasonable doubts as to whether the regional powers reach a decision of this type or whether, indeed, they are already covered by the General Health Law.
“In specific cases it has been done, as in the measles in Grenada, but prior judicial authorizations were required.”
“The Organic Law 14/1986 gives a very wide range, because in one of its articles it talks about applying ‘the measures that are necessary’, in a very generic way. And this raises a huge discussion: does it include mandatory vaccination?
In specific cases it has been done, as in the measles in Grenada , but prior judicial authorizations were required . But here we are talking about something different: it would be to introduce fines, that is, to modify the regulations and without prior judicial action. Is it possible that the 1986 standard enables this? Maybe yes, or maybe not. At least I am not sure, ”he acknowledges.
On the other hand, Fornes, from the Health Law Association of the Valencian Community, emphatically affirms that “to advance in a mandatory vaccination, regulatory support would be needed that does not exist at the moment “, while, with current legislation, if a patient refuses to receive a compulsory vaccination “a judicial process would always have to be initiated”.
Regarding the mandatory nature of vaccines, “its constitutionality can be discussed, since it clearly affects fundamental rights,” argues, for his part, the lawyer Víctor Soriano, who also defends that this would require a state organic law.