Justice chancellor: 'Confusing' school vaccination bill needs to be changed

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise.
Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

According to Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise, the draft proposal made by the Ministry of Social Affairs to change the vaccination system in schools is confusing and needs to be amended.

The Ministry of Social Affairs has sent a draft regulation for approval, under which school nurses would be able to vaccinate schoolchildren at the childrens' request.

However, Madise believes, that the draft was confusing and needed to be amended. "When it comes to such a sensitive issue, it is necessary to be precise and unambiguously clear," Madise wrote on social media. "The interests and fears of parents and the working hours of doctors and nurses must always be taken into account, and their lives must not be made more complicated than they already are," she said.

"The regulation must not confuse unrelated issues, nor give the impression that fundamental changes are being made to the procedure by which the vaccination of children and young people is being organized. This cannot happen, because the law is in force and this regulation cannot change the law," said Madise.

Madise pointed out that, according to the law, vaccination in Estonia is voluntary and that the decision to vaccinate a minor is made jointly with the child's parents. "A child or young person must not be put in a situation where he or she is victimized at school because of his or her family's choices," Madise said.

As an exception, Madise said, young people who are able to make an informed decision regarding vaccinations, may be able to decide for themselves, assuming they have prior parental consent to do so.

"The regulations must be clear and consistent with the law. No doctor or nurse, including school nurses, should be forced to define the relationship between a confusing regulation and the law, each in their own way and unfair pressure," said Madise.

Madise pointed out, that Estonia's expert committee on immunoprophylaxis is of the opinion that healthy children and young people are not required to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Those who fall into the high risk category on the other hand, should be vaccinated.

At present, no uniform regulation is in place to determine how school nurses can assess a child's ability to exercise discretion. As a result, they tend not to do so.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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