It Will Only Hurt a Little Bit: Compulsory Vaccination and the Right to Refuse Medical Treatment under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990
70 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2020
Date Written: 2019
New Zealand law prioritises the right of parents to refuse vaccination over the interests of the wider public in preventing infectious diseases. As a result, poor immunisation rates leave the population prone to outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases. In contrast, Australia has obtained high levels of immunisation coverage by introducing vaccination requirements for receiving government benefits and enrolling in early childhood centres. This paper suggests that adopting the Australian vaccination model would be a viable method of improving New Zealand’s immunisation rates and would likely be a demonstrably justifiable limit on the right of parents to refuse medical treatment under s 11 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.
Keywords: vaccination, "right to refuse medical treatment", "bill of rights"
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation