Slovenia's top court rejects vaccination rule for public sector employees

A health care worker prepares a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a home for elders as the country begins vaccinations against coronavirus disease, in Domzale, Slovenia December 27, 2020. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

ZAGREB, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Slovenia's highest court ruled on Monday that a regulation mandating vaccination for public sector employees unless they can show proof of recovery from COVID-19 is unconstitutional.

The southeast European country's government had planned to impose the rule from Oct. 1, but the Constitutional Court blocked enforcement of the decision pending a final ruling.

"Such a condition is comparable with obligatory vaccination, which is something that first requires a change in the law on infectious diseases," the court said, according to the national STA news agency.

Government officials were not immediately available for comment. Slovenia has so far fully vaccinated some 55% of its two million inhabitants, below the European Union average, and the government has been pushing for a higher take-up.

Moves by some EU countries to make vaccinations mandatory for all - led by Austria, with similar plans mooted in Germany - or people with jobs facing the public, or to lock down people who have not been inoculated, have triggered protests over perceived violations of personal freedoms.

Since October, Slovenia has recorded a resurgence of daily COVID-19 cases, though the number of new daily infections has been falling in recent days. On Sunday, Slovenia reported 775 new cases, down from 1,116 on Saturday.

Reporting by Igor Ilic Editing by Mark Heinrich

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