Greece’s supreme administrative court, the Council of State (CoS), ruled that it was within the purview of the state to expel students from their schools if their parents refused to vaccinate them due to its obligation for public health safety.
The decision came in view of the expected Covid-19 vaccines Greece is expected to receive, subject to the EU’s talks with companies.
This ruling of the Fourth Division of the Supreme Court of Cassation lays out the positions of the court for a possible refusal of parents of primary, secondary, and high school students to vaccinate their children.
The matter reached the Supreme Court when a parent from a municipality of Eastern Macedonia, last December refused to comply with a letter sent to the Municipal kindergartens and nurseries about the vaccination, pointing out that “they have to complete the vaccination program for their children”.
Despite the letter, some parents refused to comply with the instruction. Following this, the Municipal Council last January decided to expel four unvaccinated children from an equal number of kindergartens. The expulsion of the minors took place as “their parents did not comply with the repeated instructions of the pediatrician of the kindergartens and do not intend to start the vaccination program”.
One of the parents, whose daughter was expelled from the kindergarten, appealed to the CoC, requesting the annulment of the decision of the municipal council dated 14.1.2020, claiming it was unconstitutional and contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
The parents claimed that their child was “punished” for not receiving one of the many vaccines and that she was treated in a discriminatory manner by her peers and classmates, for no apparent reason, while her participation in social life, in general, was substantially limited, as the kindergarten is an area of socialisation and development of the child’ personality and a burdensome measure is imposed on it, which is not necessary, since the child is healthy, there is no case of pandemic and the other children enrolled in the kindergarten have received the prescribed vaccines “.