There are few medical issues more polarising than COVID-19 vaccines.

Now, the debate has pivoted to whether they should become ‘mandatory’.

In 2019, the World Health Organisation declared that vaccine hesitancy was one of the top ten global health threats.

The constant flip-flopping of COVID-19 science policies over the last year has only deepened fears about getting vaccinated. But will making the COVID-19 jab compulsory solve the issue of lagging vaccination rates?

No jab, no pay

Last week, Australian food manufacturer, SPC, broke ranks and became the first Aussie company to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for all its employees, without any official Government health directive.

The move has dialled up outrage on social media, many vowing to boycott SPC products, but the company has the support of some political leaders.

At a recent press conference in Sydney, Premier Gladys Berejiklian pleaded with businesses.

“If you’re a boss, if you’re an employer…please put pressure on your staff to get vaccinated. We’re doing that, we need you to help us,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The World Economic Forum encouraged employers to fire unvaccinated workers, tweeting that it supported employees being forced to choose between taking one of the COVID-19 vaccines, or face unemployment.

In the US, President Joe Biden, has now ordered that all civilian federal workers must have COVID-19 vaccinations or face weekly testing and other restrictions. Some have complained it doesn’t go far enough demanding that employment should be contingent on vaccination.

SPC’s announcement is expected to encourage other Australian businesses to follow. Major airlines, Virgin Australia and Qantas have called for a government-led vaccine mandate for all airline employees doing operational work.

And a slew of US businesses are already mandating COVID-19 vaccines for their employees, including Facebook, Google, Uber, Delta Air Lines, Cisco, Microsoft, and Ford.

Earlier this year, the Indonesian government declared that COVID-19 vaccination would become mandatory for all its citizen. Anyone who refuses the jab will be punished with a fine, freezing of social aids or a suspension of access to public services.

While there is no official policy to mandate vaccines by the Australian government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has handballed it to businesses to make their own decisions.

The businesses will need to shoulder much of the legal risk if one of their employees is harmed by the vaccine, prompting the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to call for indemnities, which have already been offered to doctors and the vaccine manufacturers.

Is mandatory vaccination a good move? Let’s explore.