Farnsworth Hendrickson Jr.
COVID-19 case numbers have been on the rise across the U.S. and around the globe, with many states and countries resuming lockdowns and preventative measures. The sudden increase in cases has caused an increase in restrictions across many countries, such as Costa Rica, which has declared that all children above the age of 5 must be vaccinated.
According to The Washington Post, the measure has been passed largely to normalize the vaccine amongst the population. This is in recognition that COVID-19 may become endemic, staying among the global population on a seasonal basis like the flu. Through this new initiative, experts are dedicating their time to find ways to surpass this deadly disease. The Costa Rican government’s attempts to achieve full immunity are undoubtedly commendable, but may be not pragmatic.
One of the main problems with Costa Rica’s vaccination protocol is the scattered responsibility for child vaccination. The New York Times reports that health officials are leaving the task of making sure that children are getting vaccinated up to parents or legal guardians, the public education system, and children’s advocacy agencies. The vaccines will be incorporated with other mandatory shots for children, such as polio, chickenpox, and HPV, The Washington Post continues.
According to the Tico Times, unvaccinated workers will also face major consequences if they do not seek vaccination. Public employees who refuse to get vaccinated will face a fine of a “base salary,” Costa Rican’s version of a minimum wage equal to 422,000 Colon, or approximately $750. Employees who refuse to get the vaccine could also face dismissal, with responsibility not being placed on the employer.
In addition, Reuters reports that health authorities have declared that following these institutional regulations and state legislation is the responsibility of the employer.” It seems very clear that unvaccinated workers face harsher treatment. If unvaccinated workers choose not to vaccinate themselves, even though it’s their policy at work, they need to follow the rules no matter what. But, people should not be charged for making a choice like that. That is their choice they are making with their body and nobody is able to make that choice for them
One of the main reasons why this topic has far more importance than one may realize is because it invites a serious conversation on vaccinations, and more specifically their long-term health consequences. Who needs to be vaccinated, what do the experts believe, how might and what impact does the vaccine have on the community, are all worthwhile questions at this time. These conversations may be challenging, but they must occur.