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Fact sheet

Fact Check Fact File: Could the government make a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory in Australia?

COVID-19 Immunisation Medical ethics Medical law Public health Australia

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a Melbourne radio station that a COVID-19 vaccine would be "as mandatory as you can possibly make it," there was an immediate backlash from some groups.

Mr Morrison even went so far as to suggest the grounds by which exemptions should be granted. "There are always exemptions for any vaccine on medical grounds, but that should be the only basis," he said.

A few hours later Mr Morrison made a sharp departure from his earlier comments, ruling out a compulsory vaccine. Enforcing mandatory vaccination is a complicated proposition intersecting public health, rights to bodily autonomy and medical ethics.

Following the signing of a $1.7 billion deal for the right to produce a vaccine being developed by UK-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, RMIT ABC Fact Check takes a look at whether mandatory vaccination could be enforced in Australia.

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