Legal Rationale for Compulsory Vaccination

Legal Rationale for Compulsory Vaccination

"Is vaccination mandatory?" – it is the most important question of the past year: we have collected some information that will allow you to evaluate options for action and make an informed decision.

So, officially in Russia there is no obligation at the legislative level to be vaccinated against coronavirus infection.

Law No. 157 "On Immunization of Infectious Diseases" states that anyone has the right to refuse preventive vaccination (Article 5 of the Law). At the same time, the lack of preventive vaccinations entails:

- a ban for citizens to travel to countries where the presence of a relevant vaccination is required;

- temporary refusal to admit citizens to educational organizations and health institutions in the event of mass infectious diseases or the threat of epidemics;

- refusal to admit citizens to work or suspension of citizens from work, performance of which is associated with a high risk of contracting infectious diseases.

Note that vaccination against coronavirus infection is not included in the national calendar of preventive vaccinations, but refers to the vaccination, which is done according to epidemiological indications, determined by the chief state sanitary doctor of each constituent entity of the Russian Federation.

Thus, whether vaccination against coronavirus infection is “compulsory” or not, depends on the region where you live and work.

The strictest legal action for the unvaccinated may be suspension from work or refusal to hire, but only for certain categories of workers, which are defined by Government Decree No. 825.

This list includes:

- agricultural workers

- medical workers

- teachers

- people working with animals.

The full list can be found here:

Public catering, trade and transport workers are not included in the official list of the Government. However, in Moscow a decree, establishing compulsory vaccination for workers in trade, catering, services (banks and beauty salons, for example)), MFC, was signed among the first. Also, mandatory vaccination is expected for workers of public transport and taxi, education, health care and social services, housing and communal services and energy, cultural and entertainment events, theaters, cinemas and concert halls, and civil servants.

And that’s where a collision arises - on the one hand, employers must ensure the vaccination of employees and remove from work those who are not vaccinated according to a decree of the constituent entity, and they are responsible for failure to comply with it.

On the other hand, there was no question on the legality of the acts of the chief state doctor of the constituent entity, which expand the list of areas in which vaccination is mandatory.

In general, case law on vaccination against coronavirus infection has not yet developed, but given the previous controversial experience regarding other vaccinations, when the courts were more on the side of the employer than of the employee, in a difficult epidemiological situation other decisions cannot be expected.

There is no such measure as the dismissal of an employee who refused to receive any vaccination prescribed by law, and the Labor Code does not provide for such an opportunity for an employer.

Meanwhile, if you received a refusal in admission to work or the employer is trying to terminate the employment contract with you, you can always seek expert advice from TEAM on the legality of actions.