Monday, September 25, 2023

Covid-19 vaccine will be mandatory in Colombia

Those who work directly with the public "must advance the vaccination schedule, to present it to the employer."

QCOLOMBIA – In the framework of the new decisions that the national government is making in response to how to address the omicron variant, the Minister of Labor, Ángel Custodio Cabrera, reported on Wednesday, January 12, that there are changes and adjustments in the labor guidelines regarding measures to face the variant.

Testing will be prioritized for the population at risk or most vulnerable. – Photo: Getty Images

According to the Labor portfolio, this decision is given in consequence to article 3 of decree 1615 of 2021, which cites that “any face-to-face event of a public or private nature that involves massive attendance at bars, gastrobars, restaurants, cinemas, discotheques, places of dance, concerts, casinos, bingo halls, and leisure activities, as well as sports venues, amusement and theme parks, museums, and fairs, without exception, the vaccination card with a complete scheme must be required”.

In this sense, those who work in which there is public “(…) must advance the vaccination scheme, to present to the employer their card that proves it,” said the circular issued by the Minister of Labor.

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Cabrera reported that the current measures will be adjusted after the new actions and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health, with the approval of the National Government, were announced, in order to mitigate the progress and the contagion rates before the omicron variant that is already in the country.

On the other hand, the Minister stated previously that with the new actions changes have to come from the labor and administrative part since the EPS are giving isolation certificates for seven days, but not a work incapacity. That is, those who are employees who cannot perform their functions in the teleworking modality, would be an important factor for the virus to spread more, generating a three-way problem: infected workers, increase in infections and companies with fewer employees due to having the infection.

“These people would have to continue attending their jobs, unless they reach an agreement with the employer. We experienced it in the pandemic, we received many complaints from businessmen and merchants who asked the worker to attend, unless they had the result of the test,” said the president of the Colombian Public Health Association, Dionne Cruz.

“Any worker who is infected, with the medical certification generates the disability. Therefore, he will have mandatory isolation with disability,” said Minister Cabrera, who also said that these disabilities will be paid for by the health system.

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Likewise, the official informed that he will soon deliver a circular with the new measures and guidelines for employers and employees.

“In the next few hours we will deliver a circular telling employers to do everything necessary to demand the entire issue of vaccination,” added Cabrera.

It should be remembered that the Government must specify whether the positive test will be a requirement or not for the issuance of incapacity for work, taking into account that, according to the Ministry of Health, the tests will be carried out as a priority to the most vulnerable populations. In short, according to this government portfolio, those with mild symptoms do not need to undergo the test to confirm the positive.

Faced with this, Dionne Cruz criticized that if there is no test it is almost impossible for people to receive their disabilities, unless a doctor certifies the symptoms.

“But we know the serious problem that the Colombian health system has: that people are not given appointments from one day to the next, that the emergencies in many cities of the country are collapsed or that they have a fairly high demand,” Cruz concluded.

New measures

President Iván Duque Márquez reported that the time of application of booster doses will be reduced for adults between 18 and 60 years as a preventive measure, and thus avoid the contagion and spread of the omicron variant that is already in the country.

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In this sense, the president said that the vaccine will no longer be applied six months after completing the vaccination scheme against covid-19, but that the booster will now be applied four months after receiving the second dose.

“That is, the time for the booster dose is shortened from six to four months for those who have already completed the scheme,” said the president.

Duque indicated new measures regarding isolation in case of having symptoms or having a test that proves contagion.

“People who show symptoms, whether they are vaccinated or not, must be kept in isolation for 7 days. Secondly, those who are asymptomatic and who have had close contact with a person who has symptoms and is not vaccinated must also keep this isolation for 7 days ” said the president.

Likewise, he also indicated that all people who have had covid-19 and did not complete their vaccination scheme or, failing that, did not start it, they will no longer have to wait six months for the application of the vaccine, but after the 30 days after contagion they can already carry out this process.


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