On the 20th of January 2022, the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania rejected amendments to the Law on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases initiated by the ruling majority, which would have introduced compulsory vaccination against COVID-19 for people working in healthcare and social services. The draft law was not only fiercely debated in the Parliament itself but also opposed by the public.
In Lithuania, which won its independence from the Soviet Union three decades ago, such an initiative was perceived by a large part of civil society as an attempt to return to totalitarianism, when not only compulsory vaccination, but also forced treatment for mental illnesses, venereal diseases and a wide range of addictions were applied, and where the inviolability of the human body and the principles of free informed consent were not upheld.
The members of the Parliament who spoke in favor of the draft law received many letters from outraged voters, and some prominent dissidents against the Soviet regime publicly opposed the initiative.
Various public organizations, trade unions, doctors and medical students’ organizations have likewise opposed the draft law. Such initiatives have been described as demeaning to the dignity of doctors and the prestige of the medical profession. After all, if doctors are able to assess for whom it is not advised, or even dangerous, to be vaccinated for various reasons, then they surely possess the same right to determine their own personal health status.
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