The Ministry of Public Health issued Resolution No. 000048, which requires the presentation of a vaccination card “to attend workplaces”.
On 8 October 2021, the Ministry of Public Health issued Resolution No. 000048 (“the Resolution”). In its ordinal 3, paragraph I, the Resolution states that people over 12 years old must present a vaccination card (in physical or digital form) with proof of at least two doses of the vaccine against Covid-19. The Resolution entered into force on 18 October 2021. Therefore, we will focus on literal a) of that provision, which that specifies that it must be required: “to attend workplaces”.
Several lawsuits attack distinct aspects of the new Resolution alleging violations of rights and freedoms of citizens. The most recent lawsuit intended to suspend the Resolution, but the competent jurisdiction dismissed it because:
“The administration is called to serve society, especially when the law empowers it. Therefore, it is understood that it has acted in pursuit of the defense of the community’s interest. In consequence, the suspension of the effects of the Resolution that is requested should be rejected.” [Presidency of the Superior Administrative Court, Sent. No. 0030-01-2021-SSMC-00169, October 28, 2021. Carlos Peña vs. Ministry of Public Health]
The imprecision of the Resolution has generated inconveniences on vaccination cards from foreign countries regarding vaccines other than Sinovac or Pfizer (the applicable vaccines approved in the Dominican Republic) and also those that require a single dose, such as the Janssen vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).
On the other hand, the Ministry of Labour announced, on 15 October 2021, the creation of conciliation mechanisms pertaining to the problems that may arise when companies require a vaccination card in the workplace. However, the Labour Ministry gave no details about how this mechanism would work.
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
In conclusion, employers will need to implement the new Resolution and demand the vaccination card from their employees in the physical places of work. The non-compliance compromises the parties’ responsibilities. However, given the various controversies and uncertainties mentioned, it is advisable to apply it gradually, affording consideration to particular situations, and preferably by agreement with the employees.