Mandatory vaccination: a joint statement of the Ethics and Vaccination working groups of the European Academy of Paediatrics

  • Adamos HadjipanayisEmail author
  • Hans Jürgen Dornbusch
  • Zachi Grossman
  • Leda Theophilou
  • Joe Brierley
EAP Statement


Vaccinating children is amongst the most cost-effective interventions for reducing children’s morbidity and mortality. Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children despite having been informed about the evidence on safety and efficacy of vaccines may seriously jeopardise the health of both their own children and others. Contemporary ethical thinking about the limits of parental decision-making over their children’s healthcare treatment often considers the zone of parental discretion. However, with vaccination this is slightly less direct as the benefits are not only accumulated by an individual child but also by children as a population. Forcing parents is of course not the only solution to counteracting the fear of vaccines. Health authorities should certainly fund research and deploy resources on combatting vaccine disinformation.

Conclusion: It would be preferable to achieve high rates of vaccination coverage by educating both parents and physicians without adopting any legislation for mandatory vaccination. However, in countries where vaccination uptake is low and/or outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases occur, the implementation of mandatory vaccination will most probably save children’s lives. EAP calls for action to make all scheduled childhood vaccinations a matter of fact for all European children.


Mandatory vaccines Vaccine hesitancy European Academy of Paediatrics 



European Academy of Paediatrics


United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children


Authors’ contributions

Adamos Hadjipanayis: Study conception, design and drafting the manuscript. Scrutinised and revised the manuscript.

Hans Jürgen Dornbusch: Scrutinised and revised the manuscript.

Zachi Grossman: Scrutinised and revised the manuscript.

Leda Theophilou: Scrutinised and revised the manuscript.

Joe Brierley: Study conception and drafting the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical statements

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PaediatricsLarnaca General HospitalLarnacaCyprus
  2. 2.Medical SchoolEuropean University of CyprusNicosiaCyprus
  3. 3.European Academy of PaediatricsBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.Medical University of GrazGrazAustria
  5. 5.Pediatric ClinicMaccabi Healthcare ServicesTel AvivIsrael
  6. 6.Paediatrics University of NicosiaArch. Makarios III HospitalNicosiaCyprus
  7. 7.Paediatric Bioethics Centre & Paediatric Intensive Care, Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, NIHR Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research CentreUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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