Publication of decrees on vaccination and masks delayed

QCOSTARICA – A few minutes after midnight, at 12:11 a.m. this Wednesday, the Casa Presidencial, through a press release, reported that President Rodrigo Chaves, “has decided to delay the publication” in La Gaceta of the decrees that repeal the compulsory vaccination against covid-19 and the use of masks”, in order to make a more in-depth analysis.

The two decrees were signed during the session of the Council of Government on Sunday May 8, but their content is unknown to date.

Despite the two decrees, President Chaves received the fourth dose of the covid vaccine on Tuesday. He assured that it had to be an individual decision.

The publication was delayed “in view of the reactions to the announcement of the publication of these decrees and which 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 executive orders on Sunday, one of Chaves’ first acts as president, the medical community has called for the scientific support used to make the decision, at a time when a fifth wave of covid-19 is upon us.

Amid the overnight declaration, the government took an aggressive tone, reversing the tables, asking the Comisión Nacional de Vacunación y Epidemiología (CNVE) – National Vaccination and Epidemiology Commission the basis used to establish the compulsory nature of vaccines against covid, a measure adopted under the previous government of Carlos Alvarado.

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

“President Chaves Robles urges people to exercise this freedom and good judgment to protect themselves and others,” he 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, this 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, on the vaccines to be included in the calendar of the country, and which people to vaccinate.

Controversial decree

Constitutional law experts say a decision of such magnitude, such as eliminating compulsory vaccination, should have gone through the Commission, and that, apparently, did not happen.

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

According to the official statement from the 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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Jacob L. Thornton