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Friday, August 12, 2022

Costa Rican Government publishes decrees on Masks and Vaccination

After sending a communication to explain the delay with the publication of the decrees eliminating the mandatory use of masks and the mandatory vaccination against covid-19, the regulations were published this Wednesday in La Gaceta, a requirement with which they enter into force.

Shortly after midnight, the Presidential Office informed that they decided to delay the publication “in order to make an additional analysis of these decrees.”

“The mask decree guarantees the autonomy of all Costa Ricans,” authorities explained. President Chaves Robles urges the population to exercise this freedom along with their good judgment to protect themselves and others.

Furthermore, “the decree on vaccination requests the National Vaccination Commission to demonstrate the scientific basis for public health decisions regarding mandatory vaccination, as well as that people who do not wish to be vaccinated should not be dismissed from their jobs,” the new government mentioned.

Although Chaves announced that he would eliminate the mandatory vaccination of public employees, the decree does not establish it, but rather urges all public institutions and the Costa Rican private sector not to impose termination of employment in cases of employees who do not have the covid-19 vaccination scheme, which currently consists of three doses.

Experts in Constitutional Law indicated that such a decision, (to eliminate mandatory vaccination), had to be approved by the Commission beforehand, and in light of what is written in the published decree, this did not happen.

One of the best and most recognized constitutional lawyers, Rubén Hernández Valle, described as illegal the decree to eliminate the mandatory vaccination against covid-19. According to his legal criteria, the decree lacks the scientific analysis of the National Commission on Vaccination and Epidemiology, so the President would have attributed to himself powers that he does not have.

Regarding the mask mandate, the decree eliminates its mandatory use in enclosed spaces and establishes it should only be used by hospital personnel and patients requiring medical attention.

“All individuals who are not front-line health care personnel or who do not require access to health facilities are exempt from this obligation. The Ministry of Health shall establish, under technical, objective reasons and with a human rights approach, the exceptional cases in which the mandatory use of the mask is excluded,” states the decree.

Specialists in epidemiology and virology, as well as medical organizations have raised their voices against this provision as a new pandemic wave arrives, evidenced by the increase in the number of infections in the last few weeks.

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