Mandatory childhood immunisation in South Africa: What are the legal options?

P Mahery, W Slemming


In recent years there have been outbreaks of vaccine-preventable childhood illnesses across the globe, and in various parts of South Africa (SA). This has raised the debate about mandatory vaccination as a means to improving immunisation coverage, and to address the need for an improved prevention strategy to minimise the risk of such outbreaks. This article explores the legal avenues available within the SA context by which mandatory vaccination could be applied, with a particular focus on the options for legislative amendments, as well as an exploration of foreign court decisions in which parties were compelled to immunise children.

Authors' affiliations

P Mahery, School of Law, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

W Slemming, Division of Community Paediatrics, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2019;12(2):76-86. DOI:10.7196/SAJBL.2019.v12i2.678

Article History

Date submitted: 2019-12-17
Date published: 2019-12-17

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