Crime & Justice

Uruguayan court suspends anti-Covid vaccinations for kids under 13

Montevideo, Jul 7 (EFE).- The Uruguayan judiciary on Thursday suspended anti-Covid vaccinations for children under age 13 after Judge Alejandro Recary upheld a motion to that effect presented by an attorney.

On the second day of hearings on the matter, the judge ruled that vaccinations must be paused for this age group, a decision that may be appealed within 72 hours by the Public Health Ministry and the President’s Office.

As per the ruling, which was publicly read on Thursday in the Administrative Dispute Court of Uruguay, the suspension of vaccinations, which are not obligatory in Uruguay, will take effect “immediately” and prevail until the requirements stipulated by Recarey are fulfilled.

Specifically, the judge ordered the health ministry and the President’s Office to publish in “unabridged” fashion “all the purchase contracts” for vaccines administered in the country, where vaccines produced by China’s Sinovac pharmaceutical company, the Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca and US Pfizer have all been used in the fight against the pandemic.

He also ordered a text to be prepared to be distributed directly to children under age 17 who want to get vaccinated informing them “fully and clearly” about the substances contained within each vaccine, their benefits and risks, as well as the “already detected” adverse effects associated with them.

Recarey, who was assigned the case, stipulated that once all these requirements are complied with, the possibility of “requesting the resumption, also immediate,” of vaccinations “will be authorized.”

The case came into the hands of the judiciary this week after attorney Maximiliano Dantone presented a motion requesting the suspension of vaccinations, a move that was received with celebration and chants like “Don’t touch our kids” by anti-vax demonstrators in the vicinity of the courthouse.

Meanwhile, the Uruguayan government said Thursday that it will observe the judicial ruling obligating it to temporarily suspend vaccinating under-13 kids, although it called the court’s decision “a blunder.”

The presidential press secretary, Alvaro Delgado, commented on the matter at a press conference after Judge Recarey’s ruling was made public, adding that the administration will appeal the ruling immediately and that it expects that parents who want to be able to have their children vaccinated against Covid will be able to do so within a few days.

Anti-Covid vaccination has never been obligatory in Uruguay, which in June 2021 became the first country in Latin America to start vaccinating children between 12-17, and then in January 2022 began inoculating kids between 5-11.

As of Thursday, 43.57 percent of Uruguayan kids in the 5-11 age group have received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, while 75.44 percent of those in the 12-14 age group have received two doses and are thus deemed to be “fully” vaccinated.

EFE scr-apf/eat/bp

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