The Puerto Rico Department of Health Implements Compulsory Vaccination for In-Person Educational Institutions

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On July 22, 2021 the Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDOH) issued Administrative Order No. 2021-509 (AO) providing that, in order to physically attend school, post-school educational institutions, or universities, personnel and students age 12 and older must be vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the PRDOH, the vaccination requirement for in-person school attendance will play an essential role in controlling the pandemic and providing a safer educational environment for students. The vaccine mandate will also assist in Puerto Rico’s reaching herd immunity to help protect all sectors of the population. 

Accordingly, evidence of vaccination will be required for all public or private school, educational center, or university teaching and non-teaching staff, including contractors who come in contact with school personnel. There are only two exceptions contemplated by the AO: (1) individuals who are immunocompromised, allergic to the vaccine, or have other medical reasons that prohibit vaccination are exempt, as certified by a doctor authorized to practice medicine in Puerto Rico; and (2) individuals who object to being vaccinated for religious reasons. In the latter case, the vaccine must be contrary to the dogmas of the religion followed by the minor’s parents or tutor. The parents or student of legal age must present a sworn statement signed by the religious minister of their religion, attesting to the religious objection.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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