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Mandatory Vaccination in Thailand?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the concept of the notion if you will of Mandatory Vaccination here in Thailand.

I have been a little reluctant to make this video because to my mind, I guess it does fall within the bailiwick of some legal analysis as we will get into here in a moment but I do know that this is a very for lack of a better term, inflammatory issue among some people. It can cause passions to rise from many different angles with respect to this overall topic. What we are going to be doing in this video is to try to do some analysis regarding the notion as to whether or not Mandatory Vaccination can be legally required in Thailand. Then we are also going to do a bit of analysis regarding the ethics and the morality behind policies of Mandatory Vaccination. I am not going to get too deep into that other than to cite basically some codified policy on this in an international context just to discuss that as sort of a backdrop to what we are talking about here. As with many videos where we are quoting and we will get into quoting some statutes of various Thai Law, please note this is for informational purposes only. This should not be viewed as a definitive analysis with respect to one's specific legal situation or the specific posture of one's case and English translations of Thai Law should not be viewed as controlling with respect to the law itself. Thai Law is written in Thai and the Thai language is the dispositive language of Thai Law so understand, again informational purposes only and English translation should not be viewed as definitive. Also I am a naturalized citizen, I am an American Attorney; it is probably worthwhile to note just so we don't get into a feedback loop of confirmation biased by me, full disclosure with respect to how I on a personal level feel about this is I don't have any problem with vaccinations one way or the other. I think they are one of the modern miracles of the 20th century with respect to treatment of disease, or I should say prevention of disease, there is no doubt about that. I will say on a personal level I get very creeped out at the notion of any Government anywhere in the world and that includes the United States, telling people what to wear; telling people what to do; commanding people to inject things or ingest things into their body, it makes me very nervous on a personal level but legal analysis is no place for one's personal emotions so I am just going to be looking at this or I am going to try and again with that full disclosure noted, I hope that the viewer can see try to use that possible bias to make their own informed decisions about where this thing stands and that you don't take my bias into account if you will, when you are making your own analysis. So again just for full disclosure I wanted to get that out there. 

Now in a recent article from the Bangkok Post, that is, the article is titled: Buriram Makes COVID Vaccinations Compulsory and this is from 15th of May 2021. Quoting directly: "Authorities in Buriram have issued an order requiring everyone in the province to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk being fined or jailed for up to 2 years." Now a couple of things here. Let's first of all note the title of this video is about Thailand. Presently, at least to the best of our research, this order only applies up in Buriram. That is the only place thus far we have seen this promulgated. Moving forward who knows where that is going to go. Quoting further from this article: "The Authority stems from the 2015 Communicable Disease Act violations of which carry a maximum 1 month in prison and/or fines that could be as high as 20,000 Baht depending on which part of the Act is applied." Okay. We have discussed the Communicable Diseases Act. I will get into that momentarily, so that is part of this. Then Bangkok Post goes on to note and I quote: "Those who refuse to be vaccinated may," and I stress MAY here, and we are going to get into this here in a minute, "those who refuse to be vaccinated may also be liable to a maximum 2 years in prison and/or a fine up to 40,000 Baht for breaching the Emergency Decree." That is a different thing okay. So we want to be very careful not to gloss over this. First they note the Communicable Diseases Act, and I will get into the analysis on that and I think their statement on that sounds to me to be about right and I will explain why here momentarily. What gives me pause in this article is that again and I quote: "Those who refuse to be vaccinated may also be liable to a maximum 2 years in prison and/or a fine up to 40,000 Baht for breaching the Emergency Decree." Well I may be in violation of breaching the Emergency Decree for doing a lot of different things and under the Emergency Decree it can just be decided if you will or, I hesitate to use the word dictated but it seems to be the only term that can be used under the circumstances, but a lot of different things can be just decreed to be in violation of the Emergency Decree. So when they say MAY there, I think they are lending a bit more definitive clarification, they are implying a kind of clarification that I don't think is really there. A lot of activity may be in violation of the Emergency Decree. As we have noted in other videos, the Civil Law system and I analyzed this as an outsider coming from a Common Law background, but I have been around it for so long it is kind of almost a daily exercise in comparative law, one of the major notions of the Civil Law is the notion of codification that laws have to be codified and people have to be put on notice, at least constructive notice, of those laws in order to be able to punish them for a violation of them. We are going to put links up in the description of this video. I have got multiple iterations of the Emergency Decree and things that have come out subsequent to the original Emergency Decree back in March 2020. I am not seeing anything where it specifically lays out that a violation, that opting out of getting vaccinated is going to result in any kind of jail time. Again this notion that in order to be punished, especially with jail, one has to be put on real notice via codified statute, it is very much an integral notion to the Civil Law. So I just hesitate or it gives me pause when I see something written in something like the Bangkok Post where they say: “Those who refuse to be vaccinated may also be liable to a maximum of 2 years in prison and/or a fine of up to 20,000 Baht for breaching the Emergency Decree." Well a lot of activity could be deemed that but under notions of codification and under notions that one needs to be put on notice, I have a hard time acquiescing to that analysis because I haven't seen anything in these Decrees that specifically says that. Then on top of that we are going to get into further analysis as to the ethical and moral implications of making that a law, a codified law, we will get into that in a minute. There are just issues with this. The notion that they can just unilaterally decree you have to take an injection, it seems to me, at the very least I think there should be sincere analysis, especially possibly an adjudication, as to whether or not that is legal. That is probably for the Courts in Thailand to decide regarding their interpretation of this stuff but again one of the concerns I have had with respect to some of these issues especially in the last six weeks or so, is the media just seems to be out there, I hesitate to say they are just completely pumping up hysteria, I think they are genuinely acting in good faith, they are trying to convey information to people but to conflate the consequences under the Communicable Diseases Act with the consequences under this amorphous Emergency Decree, I would say it to me borders on the disingenuous, let's leave it at that. I don't think anybody is actively trying to do that but maybe in their haste they are putting these things together and they are not fully breaking it out and analyzing it in detail and seeing that there is a fundamental difference between a violation of the Communicable Diseases Act versus a violation of the Emergency Decree.  

Moving forward, what does the Communicable Diseases Act have to say on this? Well as we have noted in prior videos on this channel, the Communicable Diseases Act was promulgated in 2015. It is worth noting it was promulgated at a time when there was not an elected Parliamentary Assembly here in Thailand. That was promulgated under the National Legislative Assembly back in 2015. Moving forward on that, this is the codified Communicable Diseases Act. I am going to go ahead and read from the sections that are relevant here, specifically section 51. We are going to go ahead and put this up on screen. So this is section 51. Quoting directly: "Any person who violates or fails to comply with the order of a Communicable Disease Control Officer under Section 34: (1), (2), (5) or (6); Section 39: (1), (2), (3) or (5); Section 40 (5) or fails to provide convenience to a Communicable Disease Control Officer under section 39 (4), shall be liable to a fine not exceeding 20,000 Baht." So there we are. Now the relevant portion of this that it is referring over to is section 34 (2) and what does that have to say? Quoting directly from section 34; we will go ahead and put this on screen: "For the purpose of prevention and control of communicable diseases, when a dangerous communicable disease or an epidemic has occurred or is suspected of having occurred in any area, a Communicable Disease Control Officer in such area shall have the power to carry out or issue a written order instructing any person to carry out the following: (2). To require persons at risk of being infected with the disease to receive immunization on the date, time and place as prescribed by the Communicable Disease Control Officer in order to prevent transmission of the dangerous communicable disease or epidemic. In the case of an animal, an owner or occupier of the animal shall take the animal to receive the protection against the disease." So that is the subsection and again the penalty for violating that is noted under section 51 and it is a fine not exceeding 20,000 Baht. So, under the codified law as we read it, those who would refuse an order, for example in Buriram, it looks to us like based on a plain language reading of the law, yeah you are going to be stuck with a 20,000 Baht fine. 

Okay next this notion of MAY, under the Emergency Decree. I have kind of already done the analysis on this. Again we will put up the links to the iterations of the Emergency Decrees that we have been able to find and I can't see anything codified in there. Now a lot of vague language under these Emergency Decrees. Every time you see emergency powers invoked, it tends to operate towards the broad side of the legal spectrum rather than the narrow side. Now that stated, in my opinion, it is a bigger issue in many, many ways and there are international notions of what is considered legal, moral and ethical with respect to vaccination, with respect to medical care especially when it comes to trying to make such things mandatory and the kind of bedrock international, I hesitate to use the word law but these are philosophical concepts that have been enshrined in various countries' laws throughout the years and even at an international level at the United Nations, is the Nuremberg Code of 1947. I am citing this from British Medical Journal number 770, volume 313, page 1448 and this is being cited from 7th December, 1996. We will go ahead and put this on screen so people can see it. The Nuremberg Code (1947): Permissible Medical Experiments. Quoting directly: "The great weight of the evidence before us to affect that certain types of medical experiments on human beings when kept within reasonably well defined bounds, conform to the ethics of the medical profession generally. The protagonist of the practice of human experimentation justify their views on the basis that such experiments yield results for the good of society that are unprocurable by other methods or means of study. All agree however, that certain basic principles must be observed in order to satisfy moral, ethical and legal concepts." Quoting further: "The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent, should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over reaching or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject, there should be made known to him the nature, duration and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment. The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs or engages in the experiment." Now they keep using this term "experiment" and there are those who would say "well you know that pertains to experiment", yes it does but I would also posit that again, I am not saying anything regarding the vaccines themselves but they aren't that old. This is not something that has been around so long that it is considered, I am not a medical professional, I willingly concede that for lack of a better term, but this is a treatment that has existed at this point to my understanding, for less than a year. Just to put this into some context, quoting directly from, the title is: COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Paused After Unexplained Illness. I am not going to get into it; you can go and check that out for yourself, but there was one specific section here that I thought was relevant. Quoting directly: "Clinical trials on one of the most advanced experimental COVID--19 vaccines which is being developed by Pharmaceutical Company AstraZeneca and Oxford University were paused Tuesday after a volunteer developed an unexplained illness." If you want to read the details of that you can go to Thai PBS World and look up that article. More to the point, May 13, 2021, again Thai PBS World, the article is titled: Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Approved by TFDA, (that is Thailand FDA) for Emergency Use in Thailand; again, emergency use in Thailand. "The US made Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by Thailand's Food and Drug Administration TFDA for emergency use, said the Agency today Thursday”. So again, this is May 13th. I would say people need to be really careful in using this language of “mandatory” or we are “requiring this”. Again the Communicable Diseases Act there may be fines associated with that and that is just is what it is and people can deal with the fines or the adjudication as to the legality of that on a case by case basis, but one thing that I really find concerning in this language is we seem to really be, in our desire and in our passion to put this COVID situation to bed and I certainly understand, and again this is not some conspiracy theorist video where I think people are twisting their mustaches trying to get people to be forcibly vaccinated that isn't at all where I am coming from on this, my thing is again I always find it concerning when anyone tries to make anything mandatory and I especially find it concerning when you consider that one of the basic bedrocks in International Medical Treatment since 1947 has been these notions in the Nuremberg Code that informed consent is essential to medical treatment, especially in an experimental context. To overlook that at a time like this is something we should be concerned about, I think. It is something everybody around the world should be concerned about. I am not saying anything about the vaccine, it could be a placebo or it could be the most effective vaccine on the face of the earth; that is not my reasoning for being concerned about these concepts. It is that we could end up in a situation where we "throw the baby out with the bathwater" if you will and end up where we have a regime or a legal system if you will or concepts in our collective consciousness of legality which truly run counter to the notion that people at the end of the day, should be allowed to choose for themselves how they are treated with respect to their medical situation.