Friday 27 January 2023

Publication of decrees on vaccination and masks delayed

President Rodrigo Chaves decided on the delay " in order to make a further analysis", Constitutionalists called the decree illegal, the president exercising powers that he does not have.

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27 January 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Minutes after midnight, at 00:11 am this Wednesday, Casa Presidencial, through a press release reported that President Rodrigo Chaves, “decided to delay the publication” in La Gaceta of the decrees that repeal mandatory vaccination against covid-19 and the use of masks,” in order to make further analysis.

Both decrees were signed at the Governing Council session on Sunday, May 8, but their content is unknown to date.

Despite both decrees, President Chaves received the fourth dose of the anticovid vaccine on Tuesday. He assured that it must be an individual decision.

The publication was delayed “in view of the reactions to the announcement that these decrees were going to be published and that included numerous speculations, misleading publications and, even, threats of criminal complaints,” said Casa Presidencial.

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“In order to respect the will of our people,” was the explanation given by Casa Presidencial for the hasty action of the new government.

Following the signing of the decrees on Sunday, one of Chaves’ first act as President, the medical community asked for the scientific support used to make the decision, at a time when a fifth wave of covid-19 is upon us.

In the middle of the night statement, the government took an aggressive tone, turning the tables, asking the Comisión Nacional de Vacunación y Epidemiología (CNVE) – National Vaccination and Epidemiology Commission for the basis used to establish the mandatory nature of vaccines against covid, a measure adopted during the previous government of Carlos Alvarado.

“The decree on vaccination asks the National Vaccination Commission to demonstrate the scientific basis that has supported public health decisions regarding mandatory vaccination, as well as not to dismiss people who do not want to be vaccinated from their jobs,” says the presidential statement.

“President Chaves Robles urges the population to exercise this freedom along with their good judgment to protect themselves and others,” it continued.

Although the Minister of the Presidency (Chief of Staff), Natalia Díaz, said on Monday that the Minister of Health, Joselyn Chacón, would refer to these two decrees on Tuesday, that did not happen.

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Sources confirmed that Minister Chacón was in a meeting on Tuesday for several hours with the other seven members of the CNVE, a body attached to the Ministry of Health, but with autonomy in decision-making, about which vaccines to include in the country’s schedule, and which people to vaccinate.

Controversial decree

Experts in Constitutional Law indicate that a decision of the magnitude, such as the one to eliminate compulsory vaccination, should have passed before the Commission, and that, apparently, did not happen.

Constitutional lawyer, Rubén Hernández Valle called the decree illegal, lacking the scientific criteria of the CNVE, the president exercising powers that he does not have.

According to the official statement from Casa Presidencial, there is a decree on the use of the mask that would guarantee the autonomy of the will of Costa Ricans.

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