Willem Van Aardt
PhD, Doctor Legum (NWU), North-West University Research Unit: Law, Justice and Sustainability, South Africa

International human rights standards and bioethical norms with regard to informed consent for all medical interventions logically apply to COVID-19 vaccines. This invasive medical procedure carries both known and unknown risks. Over the past two years, COVID-19 vaccine mandates significantly infringed on the individual’s right to medical self-determination, violating Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 5 of the Oviedo Convention. The COVID-19 era practices to ostracize, spurn, pressure, mandate, pay, fraudulently induce, and shame people into getting vaccinated against their will violated key Bioethical standards and long-established International Human Rights Law norms jus cogens and obligations erga omnes. Voluntariness, like so many other notions, is not an over-simplified yes-or-no concept but a matter of degree and understanding all the relevant facts in casu. Coercion itself encompasses a broad range of permutations, from applying physical force at one end to applying subtle emotional pressure on the other. Any kind of pressure put on an individual impedes and therefore nullifies the voluntariness of his or her decision, irrespective of the degree. When Government and Corporate COVID-19 biomedical medical paternalists pressured citizens to take the COVID-19 vaccines through threats of punishment if they did not and promises of reward if they did, it failed voluntariness on all counts.

Keywords: COVID-19 vaccine mandates, Jus Cogens norms, informed consent, medical experimentation, non-derogable human rights.

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