Vaccination and Public Health: a Comparative View Balancing Individual Rights and Duties of Solidarity
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Vaccination is considered one of the greatest medical achievements of modern medicine. Its effectiveness may lead individuals to ignore benefits and focus more on the risk of side effects: as data shows, recent years have seen an increase of objection to vaccination. This paper offers a comparative analysis of different vaccination policies and identifies some models of intervention going from strict legal obligations to approaches based on full freedom of choice. The overview (mainly involving the UK, Spain, the USA, France, the Czech Republic and Italy) allows to investigate the role of public authorities in balancing individual rights and duties of solidarity, also in accordance with the always changing epidemiological situation. In particular, the comparison among different legal orders emphasizes the hybrid nature of the Italian system - based on ineffective legal obligations - and highlights some of its inconsistencies and incongruities.