Ethics of mandatory vaccinations

Lady putting a band-aid on a man's arm after receiving a vaccination.

"The best way to deal with an ethical dilemma is to solve it before it happens."

Business leaders are looking at vaccination policies from a number of perspectives – brand, public relations, impacts to supply chains, public health, and the welfare of their employees, customers and visitors.

In Lander & Rogers' recent panel discussion about the legal implications for employers considering a mandatory vaccination regime in their workplace, our panellists acknowledged that the law was only one aspect to the debate.

The ethics of mandatory vaccinations

While many organisations are seeking legal guidance on mandatory vaccinations in the workplace, there are also ethical considerations.

Emma Purdue, partner in Lander & Rogers' Workplace Relations & Safety practice, spoke to Peter Collins, an ethicist, about the ethics of mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace.

Emma and Peter looked at:

  • the reasons why employees may choose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19
  • what employees and employers need to consider if an employee claims an exemption from being vaccinated
  • the circumstances in which it would be reasonable for an employer to terminate an employee's employment
  • employers' need to weigh up health and safety obligations versus other rights and interests.

Peter acknowledged that, much like the legal considerations, the ethics of mandatory vaccination emphasise the importance of being "thoughtful on these sensitive issues."

To access the recording of the session, please click below. We look forward to bringing you new perspectives and insights on this complex issue as it evolves.

Peter Collins is the former director of the National Centre for Ethical Leadership and consults to businesses in Australia and abroad on ethics-related issues.

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