More companies introducing compulsory vaccination

Demand for vaccination?
Ever since corona vaccination has become available for everyone, there have been various instances in which businesses have required their employees to have compulsory vaccination in order to work, or they have asked proof of full vaccination for customers. For example, several tour companies and an Utrecht dance school, owned by Peter Vlug, refused to accept customers who were not completely vaccinated.

Alex Geert Castermans, Professor of Civil Law at Leiden University, states that if the establishment belongs to a person, then they refuse entry. Casterman adds that if someone owns a dance school, for example, they are under no obligation to enter into a contract with unvaccinated people. Contract law gives entrepreneurs a lot of latitude, as long as they don’t discriminate or break privacy laws.

Gerrard Boot, a Leiden Professor of Employment Law, states that it is not possible for an employer to demand to see a vaccination certificate, as this would undermine the privacy law (GDPR) that protects employees data. Human Rights institutes support this further as they believe employees cannot be fired for refusing to show a vaccine certificate.

Additionally, an employee cannot require an employer to vaccinate other employees, despite the fact that an employee has the right to a safe work environment. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge stated: “We do not want a vaccination obligation, not even an indirect one. People should never feel compelled to prove they have been vaccinated.”

In the run-up to the elections, the outgoing cabinet’s liberal wing argued that those who had been vaccinated should be given additional liberties. Other political parties have spoken against vaccinations as a way to get more liberties. They spoke against direct and indirect compulsory vaccination. MP Joba van den Berg states that it “is desirable that entrepreneurs and companies do their best to offer people alternatives to a vaccination requirement.”

An I&O Research study in July 2020 revealed that 12 percent of Dutch people who do not want to be vaccinated do so mainly out of mistrust about the vaccine and its long-term consequences.

Vaccination is a choice?
To further reinforce the notion of vaccination as a choice, article eleven of the Dutch constitution states the right to inviolability of the body. Article eight of the European Convention on Human Rights states that every person has the right to determine his own physical integrity.

However, according to individuals involved in travel companies, full vaccination is requested for employees and travellers, since it makes everyone feel safer. Camping expert ACSI, which is organizing roughly forty group trips throughout Europe for Dutch and German campers this year, is one of the companies requiring immunization. “Both tour guides and participants indicated that they think it is important that everyone is vaccinated. Then, you have to make a choice. If we hadn’t done it, we would have had more cancellations. The choice is more or less imposed on us by our customers and staff,” says manager Pieter Melieste.

The Ministry of Health opposes businesses implementing their own corona policies. On the other hand, “we will not judge that this is not permitted,” a spokeswoman added. It’s still uncertain whether a vaccination requirement is lawful in this country. On this, legal scholars disagree. Some professors believe that, an alternative, such as a negative test result, should always be an option. Others stress the autonomy of businesses in determining what constraints they impose on customers.

With the considerably more contagious Delta version, the proportions are unquestionably different. Experts believe that if a vaccinated person contracts this variant, they will spread it more quickly. As a result, the United States is reconsidering making it compulsory for vaccinated people to wear a face mask. Even vaccinated people are likely to carry a large amount of Delta virus particles for the first few days, although this amount decreases quickly compared to unvaccinated people.

“Delta has changed the rules of the game during the match,” says Martijn Luijsterburg, DNA researcher at the Leiden University Medical Centre. “The question is whether a super spreader spreads much less virus after vaccination,” says Luijsterburg. “We do not know that. The bottom line is that vaccination does not offer a guarantee against infection.”

Written by Nicole Kerr