Which business sectors will be most affected by the vaccine roll out and why? Will employers be allowed to have access to this sensitive information and how will that have an impact on employment law?

Adriana Posada

Partner - Director, A & C Legal

Although the pandemic brought an unprecedented contraction of the Colombian economy, with a drop in GDP of 6.8% in 2020, some sectors found business opportunities such as the pharmaceutical sector with research and development of vaccines, supplies and medical services required for patient care as well as other sectors involved with funeral services, digital connectivity and the use of new technologies for work from home, electronic commerce, home delivery services, among others.

There are other businesses that are here to stay, such as ecommerce, digital connectivity and new technologies, which will not be significantly affected by the deployment of the vaccine, given that they have been growing for several years, even before the pandemic, by reason of the globalization and new economic models.

Likewise, the Biosafety Protocol approved by the Colombian Government in Resolution 777 of June 2, 2021 applicable to companies for the return of activities, establishes the use of alcohol and disinfectant elements, use of face masks and social distancing measures. Therefore, the supplies related to these activities will continue to be required in the medium term until there is certain evidence of a decrease in infections.

The sectors that may be more affected are those that are (i) directly related to health services for the treatment of Covid – 19, and (ii) confinement and social distancing, such as delivery of goods and services at home, residential public services, entertainment activities with distancing, or group entertainment activities via digital connectivity. However, it is still early to conclude that the vaccines that currently exist in the world are the solution to the pandemic, considering the new variants of Covid-19 that is emerging every day. Thus, in my opinion this sort of business will continue being relevant for a long time.

Regarding privacy laws, it is important to note that a patient’s clinical history is to be treated in a confidential manner and that it can only be known by third parties with prior authorization from the patient or in the cases provided in the law.

Although the application of vaccines by private parties established in Resolution 840 of 2021 for their workers and contractors requires guaranteeing the prior and individual completion of the informed consent defined by the Ministry of Health, this in no way implies that the employer may have access to confidential information of the worker.