QCOSTARICA – Legislator Carlos Ricardo Benavides suggested that the Government prohibit the entry of unvaccinated people to businesses, once the country reaches high levels of vaccination against covid-19 and that the Ministry of Health issues timely certifications.
“Yes, but with one caveat,” replied the legislator for the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN), when asked whether Costa Rica should apply a restriction of this type, as is the case in other countries.
“It seems to me that it is applied when vaccination has advanced. The State must establish a policy according to which public spaces of a private nature, such as cinemas, theaters, hotels and restaurants, can have their capacity increased to 75% or more, on the condition that people who carry a vaccination card,” he added.
According to the legislator, this would be a responsible measure for equally responsible people who have decided to be inoculated, while the economy is reactivated. The vaccination pass to enter establishments is already applied in France, for example, while Italy imposed mandatory vaccination for all workers. In both countries, anti-vaccines have sparked protests.
The former presidential candidate also clarified that, in no way, he is suggesting that the vaccination certificate be required immediately. What should happen soon, Benavides continued, is for the Costa Rican state to define a vaccination goal in order to apply the measure.
“Those who enter these businesses would be those vaccinated with the complete scheme (both doses). I am not a technical person, I cannot suggest a vaccination percentage, but it seems to me that other countries have taken the measure in this regard, once they are clear that the majority of the population has had access to vaccination,” added the legislator.
The measure, he insisted, would generate a greater recovery of the economy.
The legislator refined his proposal after pointing out this Monday, on the legislative floor, that legally it is not possible to physically force a person to inoculate.
“I cannot imagine a policeman behind a person, with a nurse in tow, to physically detain and subject him (or her) to vaccination. It does not seem to me that it is legally possible or reasonable,” he pointed out.
What he does see as possible, he added, is for the State to take sufficient measures, including in the workplace, to induce vaccination. He argued that a person can decide not to be vaccinated, but cannot put other people in society at risk.
“One could say ‘well, if a person does not want to be vaccinated and dies, let them die, the truth is that this is not a problem for the rest’, but if those people want the rest of the citizenry to put up with them, without a vaccine, generating risk for the rest of the mortals, we must tell them that this is not right because here we do not live in isolation from each other; we live in community and there are common responsibilities.
“What are we going to say to underage people? Those under 12 years of age, who we still cannot vaccinate. I do not want my children to be taught or cared for in an educational center by a person who did not want to be vaccinated.
“Because if (a non-vaccinated person) wants to undergo permanent isolation, if that person can go into the mountains and become a hermit, there is no problem, God be with him, we will even send them cans of tuna to eat. The problem is that they want to live among others without being vaccinated because there is an indisputable issue: the viral load even of an infected person, once vaccinated, is not the same of the one who is not vaccinated.
“What we have to understand here is that no one wants to subject a person to compulsory vaccinations, but in Costa Rica measures have not yet been taken to prohibit people from entering public spaces, such as hotels, restaurants, cinemas, theaters. It is because the Government is not yet in the capacity to issue certifications in an adequate time and Costa Rican citizenship still does not carry in general a document that makes it creditor that it was vaccinated,” Benavides declared.
The message in the plenary was issued on the same day that Restauration legislator, Melvin Núñez, the only who has not been vaccinated and who does not believe in immunization, criticized the legislative Board for weighing whether it can order he must be vaccinated.
The Executive Power (government) issued a decree that requires immunization for all public servants, while empowering employers to require their workers to apply the doses, as well as establish sanctions for employees who reject them without certifying any medical contraindication.
The question of whether a member of the Legislative Power, ie legislators, is a public servant and must submit to mandatory vaccination, is being reviewed by the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) at the behest of the President of the Legislative Assembly, Silvia Hernandez.
On Monday (October 4, 2021), the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) reported it has applied 5.760.293 doses of the vaccine, of which 3.470.013 (67.21% of the total population) correspond to first doses and about 2.290.280 million (44.36% of the total population) to second doses.
The CCSS reported on Monday that still to vaccinate are 804,331 first doses and 1.984.064 second doses to reach the goal of vaccinating 4,274,344 people 12 years of age and over, representing 83% of Costa Rica’s 5,163,021 population according to CCSS 2021 acturial projections.