Vladimir Putin Opposes Mandatory Covid Vaccination

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressing his annual press conference on December 17, 2020. (file photo) Photo: Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin addressing his annual press conference on December 17, 2020. (file photo) Photo: Kremlin

According to the bodily integrity norms, people cannot be forced to accept vaccination.

By Rakesh Raman

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that some crooks are showing their videos while getting Covid-19 vaccine shots and he has not made his video. He was responding to a question about his vaccination status during the annual Direct Line with Vladimir Putin program on June 30.

Although Putin did not name the crooks, recently the U.S. President Joe Biden and India’s Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi showed their visuals when they were getting vaccinated.

Putin said showing a video is not important, but he has been vaccinated. “As for the video, I do not believe that showing it is so important. What if you receive the jab not in the arm but in some other part of the body? Would I be obliged to show the video nevertheless?” Putin asked.

The Russian President said that many crooks are pretending to get vaccinated but they are not using any medicine or using just saline solution or nothing at all. He revealed that he received the Sputnik V dose in February because the Russian military personnel are getting vaccinated with Sputnik V.

Putin said that he is not in favor of mandatory vaccination for coronavirus because the Russian law does not permit forced vaccination. However, he added that if the number of cases increases rapidly, mandatory vaccination can be introduced for certain high-risk groups after consulting the doctors.

According to the bodily integrity norms, people cannot be forced to accept vaccination. Bodily integrity means the inviolability of the physical body and it allows personal autonomy, self-ownership, and self-determination of human beings over their own bodies.

The violation of the bodily integrity of another person is regarded as an unethical infringement, intrusive, and a possible criminal act, and therefore it amounts to human rights violation.

Therefore, according to bodily integrity rules, it is an offence to force people to accept Covid-19 tests and vaccines. The authorities are supposed to take an explicit consent from the people before giving them Covid-19 tests or vaccines. 

According to the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom (UK), consent to treatment means a person must give permission before they receive any type of medical treatment, test, or examination. This must be done on the basis of an explanation by a clinician.

Consent from a patient is needed regardless of the procedure, whether it’s a physical examination, organ donation, or something else. The NHS says that the principle of consent is an important part of medical ethics and international human rights law.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) states that bodily autonomy is about the right to make decisions over one’s own life and future. It is about being empowered to make informed choices. These are universal values. Governments everywhere have committed, in a variety of international agreements, to protecting bodily autonomy. Thus, respect for bodily autonomy is a core tenet of international medical ethics.

UNFPA advises that we must not overlook the incredible efforts to secure bodily autonomy being led by advocates all over the world. Not only is bodily autonomy a human right, it is the foundation upon which other human rights are built.

The need to protect bodily integrity is crucial during the Covid-19 pandemic because of limited or misleading information available about the nature of the virus and its treatment. It is extremely important to allow people to decide whether or not they want to get vaccinated because there are increasing concerns about the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines. 

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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