Why has the Prime Minister changed his position on vaccination?

Blog post by Marica Micallef

Recently, Lovin Malta, published an article reporting schools which were trying to coerce non-vaccinated teachers to take the Covid-19 vaccine, “if they wish to form part of the next scholastic year.” [1] Times of Malta has gone further to name a school in question, by stating that “Teachers and staff at San Anton School have been told they must be fully vaccinated from the beginning of the next school year.” [2] I had already predicted this in a blog way back in April[3].

The Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) immediately reacted to these articles, while completely disagreeing with such a mandatory vaccination mandate by certain schools. The union was even “ready to name and shame any employer who does not adhere with legislation and who uses threatening tactics with educators”, so much so that the same union “communicated with the Director of Employment and with the Superintendent of Public Health requesting their action and enforcement of applicable laws in force.” [4]  

Thankfully, the head of San Anton School was reported to have retrieved the email. So far, so good.

But what about other employees from varied workplaces who are either being pressured to take the vaccine or who are being asked to produce a vaccine certificate? What about other workers who are being told that if they are not vaccinated, they can longer be employed there? These are all stories I am hearing directly from people. Will these employers and workplaces be named and shamed too? What about those workers who are not backed up by any union, unlike teachers? 

The above articles failed to bring a change for the better. Instead the action backfired to a more worrying situation after Prime Minister Robert Abela, “has turned to employers as part of his appeal to get the whole country vaccinated against COVID-19”, adding that “it is crucial that everyone takes the vaccine”[5] because according to him, “80% of the adult population vaccinated was not enough to beat the pandemic.”  Abela said that “it is a civic obligation to take the vaccine and convince the remaining 20% to get vaccinated. Employers should convince their employees to take the vaccine. The time taken to return to normality will be extended unless the 20% get vaccinated”. 

But why have the Prime Minster to convince employers to enforce vaccination on their employees? Employers have neither legal nor moral obligation to intervene in their employees’ private medical decisions. This is not even a question of  civic obligation. Whether one takes a vaccine or not, it is a private matter and this choice needs to be respected. Where is the enforcement of applicable laws in this case? Why doesn’t the Director of Employment and Social Services issue a public statement?

Doesn’t Prime Minister Robert Abela think that with his statements, he has aggravated the situation for non-vaccinated, putting them at risk to lose their employment? Wasn’t this government always preaching that the Maltese and the Gozitans are in its heart and that it aims to bring more employment opportunities for the nation? Was the “Aktar xogħol għall-Maltin u għall-Ghawdxin” philosophy flushed down the drain?

In his statement, “The time taken to return to normality will be extended unless the 20% get vaccinated”, is Abela implying that Malta cannot go back to normality because of this non-vaccinated minority? What Abela needs to confirm is that there is not gong to be any normality without Covid. Covid is going to be part of our lives worldwide.

Therefore, why does the government insist of vaccinating a whole nation, even those who can’t for medical reasons? Wasn’t the percentage of herd immunity, established by the European Commission, that of 70%, reached already? Does Abela wants to use the Maltese nation as guinea pigs?

I would like to remind Abela that back in March 2020, while at a political activity in Rabat, he is reported saying that “The coronavirus is not the plague, as most people seem to think. We must be calm and rational and not react sensationally. Let’s talk about facts and not perceptions.” He said that the coronavirus is not as deadly a disease, that it’s a virus that manifests itself in a “respiratory illness that a large majority recovers from without requiring hospitalisation.”[6] This is where Abela was right.

So why now has all this changed? Why is there a need for everyone to be vaccinated against a disease which, according to the Prime Minister himself, can be deadly, and where the large majority recovers without having the need of even going to hospital?

All this confusion is coming from the fact that Government is not prepared to assume full responsibility for its governance, thus it is creating pandemonium.

[1] https://lovinmalta.com/news/teachers-and-staff-at-maltese-private-schools-told-covid-19-vaccine-is-mandatory/

[2] https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/san-anton-school-demands-all-staff-get-vaccinated-before-new-school.884746

[3] https://simonmercieca.com/2021/04/07/are-mandatory-vaccines-lawful/

[4] https://lovinmalta.com/news/union-ready-to-name-and-shame-schools-who-force-teachers-to-get-covid-19-vaccine-in-malta/

[5] https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/employers-should-convince-workers-to-get-vaccinated-pm.885856?fbclid=IwAR1bHrEXOnu9Xbetm7xTdpj3cM7l5fWONdfChDObqQ6lPi4osGHescchipc

[6] https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/100846/the_coronavirus_is_not_the_plague_lets_not_react_with_panic_robert_abela_says?fbclid=IwAR1Us-RfSlp0Cob_sMcvcki50RI2XlMwV8pARLOHDQH89MpFhOgj0hGh1wU#.YOtLvugzZPY

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