On 14 February 2022, the French Council of State rejected claims by an individual that the obligation to be administered a booster shot of the vaccine against COVID-19 was illegal, inter alia in light of the fundamental right of one’s private life (decision n°460891).
The Council of State rejected the argument that the application of a booster dose for people under the age of sixty-five was an inappropriate, unnecessary, and disproportionate measure. The Council of State heavily relied on scientific evidence to justify this type of mandatory vaccination, including based on reports by the relevant health authorities.
In fact, the vast majority of patients hospitalized in the ICU are unvaccinated or have not received the booster dose, including in the 18–65-year-old age group. Also, the Council of State pointed to the confirmed efficacy of the booster dose to protect against the occurrence of severe and serious forms associated with the Omicron variant by more than 90%. Although a pharmacovigilance survey on the effects of the booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine carried out by the regional pharmacovigilance centers of Bordeaux, Marseille, Strasbourg, and Toulouse noted 716 serious undesirable events for the period up to 3 January 2022, the majority of these events concerned people aged 65 or over and should be compared to the 16,836,541 third injections of this vaccine mentioned in the same report. Moreover, nothing prevents general practitioners and specialists to draw up a certificate of contraindication to the administration of a booster dose, regardless of the serious or severe adverse effects that occurred following the injection of the first two doses.
In these circumstances, the contested measures cannot be regarded as inappropriate, unnecessary, and disproportionate, and the fundamental right to health, in its collective dimension, trumps the fundamental right to private life.