Vaccine mandates are instruments for the government or private institutions to make it compulsory for its citizens/employees/students to be vaccinated for a specific disease in order to avail the benefits and services of the state or the institution.
As various countries mandate the use of COVID-19 vaccines, this assessment recommends the checks and balances that India must take into account when mandating the COVID-19 vaccine in the country. The broad recommendations include:
- The Union government should authorise vaccines based on clinical trials and ensure that there is sufficient vaccine supply.
- All employers – government (Union, States, and local bodies) or private, should be given the freedom to mandate the vaccine proportionate to the public health threat.
- Even when electing to issue a mandate, the employer should ensure vaccine supply, extra sick leave, and business continuity (in the case of government services).
- Special cases must be considered for exemptions from the vaccine mandate.