Anti-vax ruling creates legal fight in Uruguay

uruguay Vaccination station in Montevideo. Photo: DFLC Prints/Shutterstock
Vaccination station in Montevideo. Photo: DFLC Prints/Shutterstock

A judge in Uruguay ruled for the “immediate suspension” of the Covid vaccination of children under 13 until contract provisions between the government and Pfizer — as well as the “composition of vaccine substances” — are made public. Currently, all Uruguayans above the age of 5 are able to receive jabs voluntarily. 

The decision came from administrative court judge Alejandro Recarey. According to the ruling, both the pharmaceutical firm and the Uruguayan government have to provide more information regarding the vaccine, especially concerning its “adverse effects” — which Pfizer says only occur in only 0.1 to 1 percent of cases, mainly causing mild symptoms. 

The sentence has immediate effect and the Lacalle Pou administration accepted it, saying it respects “both justice and science.” However, the government stated it will appeal the “nonsense” decision, saying it erroneously portrays “a successful national vaccination campaign as illegal and unconstitutional.” 

Even before the sentence was confirmed, the Executive branch questioned Mr. Recarey’s impartiality, saying he “previously manifested his opinion on the same subject.” 

On Twitter, Uruguay’s Health Ministry said the use of Covid vaccines has always been “based on scientific evidence.” Throughout the pandemic, the 3.5-million-people nation had one of the most successful campaigns in Latin America, administering at least one jab to seven out of ten people by June 2021 — when several neighboring nations were still struggling to vaccinate. 

The fourth shot of the vaccine was offered to citizens in Uruguay in May 2022 and, as of July 8, the country has over 83 percent of the population fully vaccinated.