Top court: Mandatory vaccination is constitutional

Top court: Mandatory vaccination is constitutional

The Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, ruled Friday that the mandatory vaccination of health workers, the fire brigade and others against Covid-19 does not violate the Greek Constitution.

The ruling, which could pave the way for extending compulsory shots for other groups of workers or any population group determined by age criteria, came in the wake of an appeal against the government decision by several professional groups, including the Fire Service’s Special Disaster Management Unit (EMAK), the National Center for Emergency Care (EKAV) and the Public Hospital Workers Federation (POEDIN).

The court furthermore ruled that healthcare workers have a constitutional obligation to have themselves inoculated against the coronavirus as a display of social solidarity.

The cornerstone of the ruling regarding the constitutionality of compulsory vaccination measures was based, as stated in the rationale of the decision, on the fact that vaccination protects public health and the lives of citizens, which, it said, are the higher goals. 

As a consequence, the significance of the court’s plenary decision means by implication that any similar appeal by citizens or trade unions against mandatory vaccination in the future will not be successful, as a very strong judicial precedent has already been created, which places compulsory shots within the constitutional framework.

Another impact aspect of the decision is that the suspension from work of those who do not want to be vaccinated without pay is constitutionally acceptable.

The importance of the decision and its consequences were reflected in the move by the court’s president, Dimitrios Skaltsounis, to make it public without waiting for its publication, as is usually the case, which will take place next spring, citing a relevant provision of a recent law.

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