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Would compulsory treatment or vaccination for COVID-19 be justified? In England, there would be significant legal barriers to it. However, we offer a conditional ethical argument in favour of allowing compulsory treatment and vaccination, drawing on an ethical comparison with external constraints-such as quarantine, isolation and 'lockdown'-that have already been authorised to control the pandemic in this jurisdiction. We argue that, if the permissive English approach to external constraints for COVID-19 has been justified, then there is a case for a similarly permissive approach to compulsory medical interventions.

Original publication




Journal article


J Med Ethics

Publication Date



compulsion, ethics, isolation, law, mental health law, public health ethics, public health law, quarantine, vaccination