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Ecuador's Ministry of Health announced Thursday the mandatory vaccination against covid-19 given the increase in cases and the arrival of the omicron variant, making the country the first in the region to implement this measure.
"In Ecuador, vaccination against covid-19 is declared mandatory. This decision was taken due to the current epidemiological status, i.e., the increase of infected people and the circulation of new variants of "concern," such as omicron," the health ministry said in a statement.
The decision of the Ecuadorian authorities also responds to the international trend that shows the speed of contagion and the pressure on health services, which have a high demand for hospitalization.
"Ecuador has the necessary amount of biologicals to immunize the entire population. These aspects are contemplated in the guidelines for mandatory vaccination against SARS-CoV-2," adds the statement.
Likewise, the Ministry of Health clarifies that the measure has a legal basis.
"Article 6, numeral 4 of the Organic Law of Health reads "to declare the obligatory nature of immunizations against certain diseases, in the terms and conditions that the national and local epidemiological reality requires; to define the norms and the basic national immunization scheme; and to provide the population with the necessary elements to comply with it at no cost," says the text.
The Constitution of the Republic, in its article 32, also details that it is a right that the State guarantees through public policies, programs, actions and timely services for the promotion and integral health care, adds the communiqué.
However, immunization will not be mandatory for people who present any medical condition or contraindication, although they must submit a certificate for this purpose.
On Tuesday, 12.4 million people were fully vaccinated (two doses) in Ecuador.
This represents 77.2 percent of the 16 million inhabitants that constitute the target population to be vaccinated (from five years old).
After the holidays for All Souls' Day, Independence Day in Cuenca and Quito's Foundation Day, there has been an increase in covid-19 cases in the country.
According to the last report published on Wednesday between December 20 and 21, there was an increase of 467 infections.