Can vaccination against Covid-19 be mandatory in Argentina?

Since the arrival of COVID-19 and the implementation of isolation measures, more than one option has been tested in order to protect the health of the population both in the world and in our country.

The instances that surrounded the entry into force of the Sanitary Passport imposed in France, together with what was announced in the province of Buenos Aires and by the president of the Argentine Industrial Union (UIA) in relation to a possible obligation to be vaccinated, generate different points of view (all understandable), but they fail to find the right answer or at least, agreed.

The issue raises various currents of opinion: from the legal point of view, public health and society. Without considering the usefulness or not of the vaccine, which today is the only way to eradicate the coronavirus.

This was understood in this way by much of the world, that in order to “normalize” work activities and citizenship, they resort to “tactics” such as requiring negative tests and also complete vaccination schedules.

The controversial sayings of Funes de Rioja, president of the UIA, who threatened not to pay the salary of the unvaccinated, generated in our country the great national controversy: is it legal to require vaccination to return to work?

“Faced with this position, society feels an affront to the right to work and enjoy the corresponding salary. We include in these considerations avoiding beliefs, dogmas and various positions that lead to not wanting to be vaccinated, ”epidemiologist Carlos Di Pietrantonio (MN 73621) points out to Con Bienestar.

The legal framework

Vaccination is governed by National Law 27,491, which says in article 7 that vaccines of the National Calendar are mandatory, those recommended by the national authority for risk groups and those indicated for an epidemiological emergency situation.

Law 27491 states that for the vaccine in question to be mandatory, it must form an integral part of the National Calendar and, there must be availability of vaccines as a general principle in charge of the health authority, both to enjoy the right to work and to access to gastronomic, cultural fields or those that are intended to be included in the framework of a possible national “Health Passport”. It should be clarified that vaccination to combat COVID-19 has not been declared mandatory by the national authority that applies the aforementioned law.

According to experts in the legal area, this obligation to have a passport wields several situations:

– Ignorance of labor laws: 20,744; 24,013; 11,544, just to mention a few.
– Inequality before the law, overturning this principle established by the National Constitution, a basic and universal principle wielded in article 14.
– Ignore the international conventions on the right to work (ILO), Pact of San José de Costa Rica.

“For this reason, the State has the duty to remove social, cultural and economic obstacles that prevent the exercise of rights under conditions of equality, such as work and the obligation to get vaccinated for it”, analyzes the doctor.

The sanitary framework

“As a specialist in Public Health, I am aware of the scope of Law 23,737 that modifies article 204 of the Penal Code and article 202 of the same Code, dealing with the spread of diseases in the framework of the health emergency as a consequence of the COVID pandemic. -19. Despite the aforementioned, the definition of health must be taken into account, which goes beyond the mere absence of disease and is defined (with a holistic concept), as a state of physical, mental and social well-being that makes the free will is an unavoidable fact in this definition ”, details Di Pietrantonio.

Vaccination is not a risk-free act for health and no system can foresee the adverse effects that each individual may have and that, being able to cause damage that can become irreparable, the “precautionary” principle must be considered in this regard.

In this way, the possibility or not of its application should be included within the “Informed consent”, even adding it to the Rights of the Patient (Law 26529).

“As a doctor, I am a staunch defender of life and as such I recommend vaccination as the only known method to preserve myself from the COVID-19 infection, but as a human being I am against any act that curtails our individual freedoms, opposing vaccination mandatory in the current regulatory framework, which violates individual autonomy upheld by Article 19 of the National Constitution, ”acknowledges the specialist ex-director of the Posadas Hospital. / TN

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