COVID-19 June 10, 2021 | 3:24 pm

Is it mandatory to get vaccinated? Know what the Magna Carta says about it

Santo Domingo, DR

The coronavirus pandemic has forced countries to adopt a series of measures to contain the disease and return everything to normal as soon as possible.

One of the main strategies to mitigate the effects of the disease is applying a massive vaccination plan for the population over 18 years of age, which has had some setbacks because some citizens refuse to be inoculated.

The reason?

Campaigns without any scientific rigor distributed in the social networks have been the main factor for this to happen. It is stated that the vaccine will not have any positive effect against the disease and that instead, other objectives are sought that go beyond achieving the end of the virus.

When consulted on the matter, the former Minister of Public Health, Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas, assures no technical or scientific reason to oppose the vaccine. Still, instead, he attributes the rejection to “minority groups” that have been in charge of sowing doubts in the population without any valid basis.

He understands that to avoid this, the Government should summon the national leadership and all the sectors to develop together a strategy of orientation to the citizenship and in this way manage to convince them, since in his opinion, what the population needs are a direct accompaniment that facilitates their acceptance of the vaccine.

“There is no reason to resist. It is necessary that 75 percent of the population be vaccinated so that there is herd immunity and the virus can be attenuated,” said Sanchez Cardenas when consulted by Listin Diario.

However, the campaigns to motivate the undecided have not been enough. Instead, they are increasing their doubts, to the point that some prefer to be fired from their jobs since some companies are demanding them to be inoculated.

Those who fight for a fully vaccinated population understand that those who reject the process should not be allowed to enter public places, to the point that a resolution to that effect has already been submitted to the National Congress.

This resolution establishes that those who do not show the vaccination card should not enter public or private places.

But is it legal to force a citizen to be vaccinated?

When asked about this, attorney Cristóbal Rodríguez Gómez, explained that the Constitution in this regard is clear, when in its article eight on individual liberties and the general interest establishes that “the exercise of individual rights and liberties must be compatible with public order, general welfare and the rights of all.”

“In other words, our constitutional system turns public order, the general interest and the rights of others into insurmountable limits to the exercise of the rights of everyone,” emphasizes the jurist.

He said that the State is empowered, therefore, to impose limits when the exercise of rights becomes a threat to the general interest, which, in the current case, is collective health.

Regarding the obligatory nature or not of the vaccine, constitutionally speaking, he points out that there has been an inadequate interpretation of the third numeral of article 42 of the Constitution, which states that: “No one may be subjected, without prior consent, to experiments and procedures that do not conform to internationally recognized scientific and bioethical standards. Nor to medical examinations or procedures, except when his life is in danger.”

Observing the above, what the Substantive Charter prohibits is human experimentation. “From its literal wording it is clear that in those cases in which the procedures comply with internationally established scientific and bioethical standards, it is legally feasible to intervene, even without the consent of the person,” Rodriguez says.

Likewise, he points out that the prohibition against submitting a person, without his consent, to medical procedures has as an exception the cases in which life is in danger.

He gave us an example that, as of today, millions of people have died worldwide as a result of the virus that has generated the pandemic. One of the purposes of the vaccine is to prevent death and the evolution of clinical severe symptoms and suffering. Therefore, in this case, the exception was foreseen in numeral 3 of article 42 of the Constitution.

Is it unconstitutional to require vaccination cards for an employee?

Rodriguez Gomez said that article 62.8 of the Constitution “seems to provide a basis for the requirement of vaccination in the workplace” since it provides that “it is the obligation of every employer to guarantee its workers adequate conditions of safety, health, hygiene and work environment,” which in the current context are related to the palliative effect of the contagion that vaccines counteract. However, the same is not guaranteed with employees who are reluctant to be vaccinated.

He understands that, unless a person presents evidence of health risks resulting from vaccination, private companies have constitutional support to require it.