Canary Islands could enforce vaccination with new decree

by Lorraine Williamson
Canaries could enforce vaccination in certain professions
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LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA – The government of the Canary Islands took the first legislative step to enforce vaccination for workers in some public and private sectors. 

The board of the socialist Ángel Víctor Torres has approved a decree-law allowing him to decide which activities and areas of work will require a diagnostic test with a negative result or a certificate of full vaccination. 

Possibility to enforce vaccination 

Canarian government sources explain this is not a de facto obligation, as it falls under the powers of the state. But is legislative preparatory work should the central government decide to enforce people in certain professions to be vaccinated. 

As Torres explained, the decree will be published Monday in the Official Gazette of the Canary Islands. It will then be sent to the regional parliament. From there it will be processed with the possibility to include amendments from other political groups. 

Therefore, from Monday, the Canarian Government will be empowered to require full vaccination or negative PCR for certain workers. However, the government cannot put this power into practice yet. This is because, currently, vaccination against Covid is not mandatory in Spain. 

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At the moment, being fully vaccinated or presenting a negative PCR test is required to fly to the archipelago. And also to access hotels and other regulated tourist accommodation. 

Canary Islands government sources add that there are currently no signs that Pedro Sánchez’s government will enforce vaccination, for example for health personnel, teachers, or healthcare professionals in nursing homes. 

Health minister rejects vaccination obligation 

Health Minister Carolina Darias has repeatedly rejected compulsory vaccination. The last time was on Wednesday at the press conference after the Interterritorial Health Council. 

At a press conference, Torres did not make it clear which work areas and activities would be considered if an obligation were to be made. At the same time, Catalonia has again requested authorisation for compulsory vaccination for nursing home staff. 

No regulations on vaccination obligation 

The Canary President referred to other autonomous communities, such as the Basque Country and Aragon, which would have similar rules. However, Basque government sources have pointed out there is currently “no regulation in the Basque Country or in the state with compulsory vaccination for any profession.” 

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