Ethics and enforcement are two big things that come to mind after the Alberta Party came out Thursday with a very strong stance on vaccinations.
Party leader Stephen Mandel says if elected this spring, under law — vaccinations will be mandatory in publicly funded schools, from elementary to senior high schools.
Parents should be able to send their kids to school without fear they’ll contract serious illnesses like measles. An @AlbertaParty Gov would make it mandatory for children to have up-to-date immunizations in order to attend publicly-funded schools #SafeKids #abpoli #ableg pic.twitter.com/q1231AHx3G
— Stephen Mandel (@SMandel_AB) March 7, 2019
University of Calgary medical ethicist Juliet Guichon says while good in theory, a law like this might be tough to enforce as it would create a lot more work for public health nurses. Another issue is the emotions when enforcing such a law.
“A sort of brutish enforcement would be unethical, I mean it would be rather an opportunity to speak at length with the parent to understand what the parent’s objections are to vaccination. So I think in general the law would be ethical and the enforcement would have to be very case specific.”
Guichon also raised this point for parents to consider.
“The children are not their property. Parents have a duty to protect their child and provide the necessaries of life, that’s food and housing, but arguably they have an ethical duty to protect the child from the horrors of vaccine-preventable diseases.”
A recent survey done by the Angus Reid Institute shows a majority of Canadians support mandatory vaccinations.