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Costa Rica declares vaccines voluntary.... for some

Costa Rica

The president of the Central American nation of Costa Rica declared the end to the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine mandate, noting that forcing the shot on Costa Ricans was “against the law.”

“As of today, the vaccines are not mandatory – and therefore, any action taken against anyone who does not want to be vaccinated is an action that is against the law,” said newly elected Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves Robles during an Aug. 3 press conference.

Chaves is vaccinated against COVID-19, but has maintained his position that “people have freedom of choice.”

“As I said during my campaign: Costa Rica’s people are not cattle that you beat with a piece of wood and force to get vaccinated,” said the president, who was elected in April.


Unfortunately Álvaro Ramos president of the CCSS and Roberto Cervantes, manager of the CCSS, concluded that vaccination against covid-19 remains mandatory for employees of the institution despite the decree issued by President  Rodrigo Chaves. The CCSS has not been formally informed [that the decree establishing mandatory vaccination has been repealed], but we will make a legal study of the implications of what was communicated last Wednesday."

Dr. Leandra Abarca, coordinator of the CCSS Immunization Program, and it's representative in the CNVE, stated at the ordinary session of the technical committee held on June 30."Vaccination against COVID-19 is not mandatory in the country, except for minors, the public sector and the front line, those are the three groups that are now in the mandatory decree," he assured.

Even Dr. Rodrigo Marín, from Health Surveillance of the Ministry of Health, agreed that "we are not forcing 70% of people, because by law the decree (of mandatory vaccination) is not like that," he said in the moment when he defended his motion to reduce the obligation for front-line officials.

On other occasions, such as last April, during the discussion of the Vaccine Commission on coverage with these doses in the country, the then Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, stated that “it is known that (vaccination) is not mandatory. for the population, except for specific groups”.

While not mandatory during the previous government, the authorities that led the health emergency imposed strategies such as the vaccination certificate through a QR code, as a requirement to enter commercial establishments and massive activities. Hence while not mandatory, it imposed restrictions on anyone who was unable to show a vaccination certificate.

This was recognized by the doctor at the meeting, where he also asserted that eliminating this requirement brought down vaccination coverage with the third dose, among the population where inoculation is voluntary.

So for now yes vaccines are not mandatory, with the exceptions previously stated. Clearly the President is working to eliminate the mandatory status for all.