Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination and Free Self-Determination in the Health Field in Italy
Keywords:Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, free self-determination, fundamental rights, human dignity, Italian Constitution
The COVID-19 pandemic and the issues related to health emergency management have raised concerns about fundamental rights protection. One of the most complex and contentious issues in doctrine and jurisprudence is the introduction of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for specified categories of subjects, such as healthcare workers and individuals of a specific age range, as occurred in Italy. The debate in Italy over the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirement focuses on whether this obligation interferes with the individual's fundamental right to free self-determination as guaranteed by Article 32 of the Italian Constitution. In jurisprudence and doctrine, conflicting opinions are noted concerning this topic. Part of the doctrine argue that mandatory COVID-19 vaccination compromises some fundamental rights guaranteed by the Italian Constitution, such as the right to free self-determination and respect for human dignity. Other opinions find the basis of the vaccination in the community's best interests, citing Article 32 of the Italian Constitution, which allows for the imposition of compulsory health treatment to safeguard citizens' health. In this regard, the issue of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requires a reflection on the balance of two fundamental rights: the individual right to free self-determination and the community's interest in terms of protecting public health.