A Skewed Relationship

Christopher Harries

On the Sharp End last night, chip connoisseur and Welsh Health Minister, Vaughan Gething MS stated that he would not rule out a mandatory coronavirus vaccination scheme.

Opposition to such a proposal is not due to an aversion to vaccines instead it is due to the mandatory nature of a such a proposal. Mandating a vaccine denies the individual the choice and presumes state control of the individuals body.

For the state to mandate individuals into having the vaccine would be an unacceptable proposal by the Welsh Government. Coronavirus has tested the relationship between individuals and the state with the state asserting greater control over individuals lives with the imposition of draconian measures such as lockdowns and curfews.

As with deemed consent, the proposal of mandatory vaccines demonstrates a skewed relationship between the individual and the state. Symptomatic of an absence of trust in the individual.

Contemplation of a mandatory vaccine is just the latest manifestation of a presumption of ownership of the individual by the Welsh Government. Five years ago, the Welsh Government introduced deemed consent for organ donation making it necessary for individuals to opt-out otherwise they would be seen as having no objection to organ donation.

Be under no illusion organ donation is the ultimate gift one can make to another. If anything, deemed consent devalues the act making the organ a mere commodity rather than a precious gift. Yes, the deemed consent system led to an increase in consent rate, but surely uptake could have been increased through education campaigns.

Vaughan Gething should abandon his paternalist tendencies. Instead of seeking to presume ownership and control over the individual, the Health Minister should seek to educate individuals and ultimately trust them to make the right choice.

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