A municipality in northwest Colombia imposed on Monday a mandatory eight-day fine for residents who hesitate to vaccinate against COVID-19.
“We have to be strong as leaders. Everyone must be vaccinated,” Mayor Elvira Julia Mercado told local radio.
The municipality has the necessary vaccination doses for the 28,000 it administers but, according to the city council, only 10,000 residents are vaccinated due to the circulation of false information about vaccines.
“There are religions that reject vaccination, and that the vaccine is against Christ, and others say (the vaccinator) will die within two years…”.
According to the municipal ordinance, vaccination certificates must be presented to gain access to the shops, bars, restaurants or banks of the municipality. Controls will be implemented at the entrances and exits of the city perimeter.
Of the unvaccinated people, only those who need care or who have an appointment at a vaccination center will be allowed to leave their homes.
Violators face a fine of $260 (about 219 euros) and criminal prosecution if the offense is repeated.
Local authorities announced a reassessment of these provisions within a week.
Colombia is the third country in Latin America with the highest per capita mortality rate, after Peru and Brazil.
Although the most deadly peak of the epidemic recedes after 17 months of the health emergency and 12.2 million of the 50 million population have been fully vaccinated, about 121,000 deaths and nearly 5 million positive cases have been recorded.
Sucre is the first municipality to make such a decision, but the Minister of Health, Fernando Ruiz, warned that the state was also not ruling out implementing restrictive measures for those who refuse to be vaccinated.
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