Nicoletta Vettori

Health decisions between precaution and solidarity

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The article examines the exemplary case of vaccination for reflecting on the legal principles that must guide the power of public health authorities. The case is particularly interesting because the legal discipline has evolved from a 'hard law model', based on the obligation of vaccination, to a 'soft law model' basically inspired by the freedom of choice. Recently the Government, with the d.l. 7 june 2017, n. 73, has again made 10 vaccinations mandatory for minors up to 16 years. The paper shows the implications of different model of regulation and highlights the constitutional and European principles that the public health authorities must respect when it comes to protecting the health, both individual and collective, with decisions that involve risks and there is a conflict between individual rights and the interest of the community. This will allow us to consider how the effectiveness of regulation (especially in the case of recourse to soft law instruments) depends, for the most part, on a correct administrative implementation and, more in particular, on the organization of appropriate public services.


  • Right to Health
  • Compulsory Vaccination
  • Freedom of Choice
  • Duty of Solidarity
  • Precautionary Principle


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