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Mandatory vaccination against covid-19 stands while Commision studies new information

Unanimously, members of the vaccination commission agree to analyze the limits of the mandatory inoculation 'according to the scientific and epidemiological context'

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QCOSTARICA – Unanimously, the members of the Comisión Nacional de Vacunación y Epidemiología (CNVE)  – National Vaccination and Epidemiology Commission – ratified the mandatory inoculation against covid-19 while analyzing, in light of recent information, the current limits and the effectiveness of this measure.

The members of the CNVEcommunicated their decision to the Minister of Health, Joselyn Chacón, through a letter issued on Tuesday, May 10, in response to a request made by the minister.

In their letter, they indicate that in their next session, which would be on May 26, they will review the “current limits of the mandatory nature of vaccination against covid-19 according to the scientific and epidemiological context. Meanwhile, the current terms of the obligation previously agreed by this Commission are maintained.”

Letter issued by the National Vaccination and Epidemiology Commission to the Minister of Health regarding the mandatory vaccination against COVID-19

Currently, inoculation against covid-19 is mandatory for children and adolescents between 5 and 17 years old; health workers and public officials. Private companies can require it from their workers.

For the other population groups, inoculation has always been voluntary and remains so.

Vaccination became mandatory for state employees on September 28 and for minors on November 5. Last February, the third dose was also made mandatory in both groups.

This Wednesday, May 11, the decree signed by President Rodrigo Chaves Robles and published in La Gaceta, was contrary to what he announced on Sunday, when he said that he would end the mandatory nature of the vaccine

His directive only “urges” public institutions and the private sector “not to apply dismissal sanctions in cases of officials who do not have the vaccination scheme.”

The former Minister of Health, María Luisa Ávila (from May 8, 2006 to September 1, 2011), recalled that “the National Vaccination Law establishes the power of the CNVE to prevent this issue from becoming politicized. The law, precisely, was born for that, because the people who are part of the Commission are technical people, not politicians. Of course, the Commission is chaired by the (Health) minister on duty”.

For Ávila, the announcement made by President Rodrigo Chaves on May 8 “created confusion in the people. When you introduce a public health measure, it has to be sustained over time, precisely because it takes a lot for people to get used to it and there is always resistance to change.

“If now, unfortunately, hopefully not, there is an increase in cases due to a subvariant, and you tell people to wear a mask or get vaccinated again, most people may not heed the call.”

Previously, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Pharmacists, the College of Microbiologists and Clinical Chemists and the National Medical Union and Undeca unions had spoken out against lifting the obligation.