Judgment Pl. ÚS 16/14 - Mandatory vaccination as a requirement for admission to nursery school

31 March 2015

On 27 January 2015 the Constitutional Court also rejected a petition proposing the annulment of another provision of the Act on Public Health Protection. In this case the petitioner (a minor represented by his legal guardian) contested the unconstitutionality of Article 50 of the Act which states that the preschool educational facilities are allowed to admit only a child which a) has undergone regular mandatory vaccination, b) produces a document certifying that he or she is immune to infection, or c) cannot undergo vaccination due to permanent contraindication. The petitioner argued that the contested provision violates his right to education.

The Constitutional Court subjected the contested provision to the so-called test of rationality. Within its framework the Court concluded that the legal regulation does not interfere with the core of the right to education as it is not discriminatory and it does not preclude admission to preschool facilities without exception. The Court further stated that the contested provision follows a legitimate aim (public health protection) and fulfills the requirement of rationality. Regarding the rationality of the legal regulation the Court held that vaccination (as means of immunization against selected infectious diseases) presents a social benefit which requires shared responsibility of all members of society. Next, the Court considered that undergoing the minimal risk connected to vaccination in order to protect the society’s health presents a certain act of social solidarity as only vaccination of sufficient majority of the population prevents the spread of selected diseases and creates so-called collective immunity.

Considering the above mentioned findings, the Court concluded that the contested provision does not violate the petitioner’s right to education as the vaccination requirement presents a rational means of achieving the aim pursued, and rejected the petition. Judge Šimáčková gave her dissenting opinion.