The Ministry of Health (Minsa) could make vaccination mandatory for all residents of Panama said the Administration Attorney, Rigoberto González , on Thursday, December 29, in response to a query from the Minister of Health, Luis Francisco Sucre.
On December 7, Sucre
asked González about the need to have a legal instrument to support the mandatory nature of vaccination against Covid
-19, in addition to Law 48 of 2007.
“We raise the query if another legal instrument is necessary to support the mandatory nature of [vaccination against Covid
-19 ], wrote the minister.
While recognizing that the Minsa
can order mandatory immunization actions for the population, the prosecutor warned that these processes must be carried out“ with absolute respect for the dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people, especially the right to life and personal integrity, and must be proportional and consistent with the risks to public health in question”.
The attorney pointed out that these extraordinary measures must respond to a specific situation of imminent risk to health, and be justified and based on evidence and scientific principles.
' Additionally, any measure that involves preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention, must have the prior, free and informed consent of the person to whom it should be practiced, based on the appropriate information for each case, and the person may revoke said consent at any time, without generating reprisals of any kind, 'noted the attorney in the reply to the minister.
In his note, the attorney makes reference to the Constitution, the Health Code, the organic law of the Minsa
, laws 68 of 2003 and 48 of 2007, and several international agreements signed by the Republic of Panama, such as the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Rights Human Rights and the American Convention on Human Rights.
It also cites a statement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who referred to the mandatory nature of vaccines
. Bachelet indicated that although mandatory vaccination is not prohibited, there are limits on when and how they should be applied.
Law 48 of 2007 establishes as a health measure of special attention, vaccination against immunopreventable diseases. ' This vaccination process will be mandatory throughout the national territory,' says Article 1.
The same law, in its article 10, adds that residents of the national territory, without distinction of religion or race, ' have the obligation to keep their vaccination status updated, to keep their vaccination card and to present it when required '.
Likewise, ' the Minister of Health is empowered, when he considers that the health of the population is at risk, to order the extraordinary immunization actions that are necessary, which will be mandatory for all residents of the Republic, ' indicates the article 14 of Law 48.
Previously, the Public Prosecutor's Office had already attended a similar query from the Minsa
, about the possibility of establishing the mandatory nature of swab tests, which detect the presence of the coronavirus
, and the response was similar .