Doctor giving an injection to a patient

Vaccination: How do we balance freedom of choice and public welfare?

idea icon 4 ideas

Vaccines are one of the greatest public health achievements in history - they have helped save countless lives. Smallpox has been eradicated; polio is on its way out. Many public authorities across the world have made childhood vaccination mandatory, to speed up the elimination of life-threatening illnesses. Yet more and more people are fighting the idea of vaccinations.


What is the role of social media in this?

How can we ensure that the choice not to vaccinate is based on fact-checked information?

How should public authorities tackle the tricky challenge of respecting individual choices, while safeguarding public health? How can we stop this misinformation campaign?

Learn more Hide
The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has selected some of its resources to provide young people like you with background information and insights linked to the topic above.

Share your idea

Try to be as concrete as possible when sharing your idea. The more in depth you go the more impactful your answer will be.

By submitting this form, you accept the European Youth Ideas Moderation and Privacy policy.

Mila Dee
13 August 2020

I believe that people should have free choice to decide whether they want to get vaccinated. Most of the Nordic countries have that regulation and they still are among the countriea withe the highest number of vaccinated population. Physicians should also communicate better with their patients on all those questions related to vaccines and getting vaccinated. Please do not forget that vaccine producers are excempted from liability for unwanted effects, including permanent body impairments or in some very rare cases even death. Many people are also afraid of this. I personally know few close people who have lost their hearing, due to getting a specific vaccine (this was of course proved). So, the issue is more complex than simplg convincing someone that you are supposed to do something for the public good.

20 May 2020

First of all, I think this might be influenced by education. I am a chemist and one of the things I notice is that a lot of people are afraid of chemicals. They can sound very bad if you want them to be, but explaining to people how vaccinations actually work might make it more logical for them to understand. A comment which I remember reading mentioned that "why can't we, instead of inserting chemicals into our children, just add a bit of the dead virus ?". For me personally, this was an eyeopener since this captured in one sentence why people are afraid of vaccinations. I think educating people on what vaccinations are, how they work and how they can help you might be enough to help for at least a part of the problem. If this information would be put out, it would be of the utmost importance that it is in understandable languages. For example an animation that a child at the age of 10 would be able to understand. Most of the time words and terms are used in these commercials which are not know by everyone. Therefore, a part might still not understand the information which would be missing the purpose.

Kíra Dolmány
06 November 2019

In my opinion, vaccines are life saving (so I agree with Anssi). I do not understand though, why so many parents decide not giving the “essential” vaccines for their children.
Nowadays, the individual choice is becoming more emphasised, the thirst for freedom is increasing too rapidly, for instance in the question of gender, style and studiing. Individual choice mean deciding in a topic in your own for yourself. When it comes to the topic of vaccination, at a young age individual choice does not exist: the young children cannot decide if they want to have a vaccination or do not, or even do not know what a vaccination is. In my opinion the parent cannot decide in this case behalf the young person, because it is an other human beings frame and life. If something happens with an unvaccinated kid in young age, can the parent (who decided behalf them) even deal with the problem? I think it is a lot of responsibility the parent should take, because by not giving the appropriate vaccine, they risk their own childrens life.
In my opinion, the vaccination for young people should be maternity in all countries.

Anssi Eboreime
04 September 2019

Public health affects everyone. Vaccines are necessary and in this personal views are not very important. If we do not outright make them mandatory then we must follow the example set by Australia and set some sort of limits to those who do not vaccinate, like limit access to care. Those not vaccinated pose a danger not only to themselves but also to the weakest in our communities. Although it should be allowed for people to request tests prior to vaccination as to whether they have hypersensitivity/allergy if they so wish.