Ecuador declared mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 for the population from the age of five due to the presence of the Omicron variant, the Ministry of Health reported this Thursday.
“In Ecuador, vaccination against COVID-19 is mandatory,” the ministry said in a statement.
The mandatory immunization “applies to people over 5 years old,” the portfolio specified through its press chat on WhatsApp.
Those who have any medical contraindication will be exempt from being vaccinated, but must present a certificate, according to the guidelines established by the authorities.
The measure was taken due to the “increase in infections and the circulation of new variants of ‘concern’, such as Ómicron,” the secretariat added in its statement.
He argued that the decision to declare the vaccination against Covid-19 in the country it is framed in the Constitution, which establishes that the State must guarantee the right to health.
The Organic Health Law indicates that the Executive has the power to “declare the mandatory nature of immunizations against certain diseases, under the terms and conditions that the national and local epidemiological reality requires.”
69% of the 17.7 million inhabitants have received the complete vaccination scheme against Covid-19. In addition, 900,000 people have had the third booster dose.
Increase in cases
To face an increase in cases after the detection of the omicron variant a week ago, Ecuador imposed on Tuesday the presentation of the vaccination card to enter public events, restaurants, shopping centers, cinemas and theaters. It also reduced the capacity in those spaces to 50%.
The Andean nation reports more than 539,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 (3,045 per 100,000 inhabitants) and 33,634 deaths from the virus, which it detected in its territory in February 2020.
Ecuador is the seventh Latin American country with the most deaths from Covid-19, according to an AFP count.
In just over a week, the Ministry of Health detected 22 cases of the omicron variant, most of them are in the port of Guayaquil (southwest), one of the first sources of the coronavirus in Latin America and where the health and funeral systems collapsed during what worst of the pandemic, leaving even dead in the streets.
The ministry explained that after recent holidays, including the founding of Quito on December 6, “there has been an increase in cases” and an increase in the use of beds in hospitals. Intensive care units are up to 77% occupied, he added.
Ómicron, which was detected in November in South Africa, is spreading faster than other variants of the coronavirus.
This variety has been detected in 18 countries on the American continent, where there are more than 100 million cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
The world registers more than 5.3 million deaths and more than 276 million infections since the end of 2019, according to the AFP balance of this Thursday from official sources.