Masked worker

The Malta Chamber and Malta Employers’ Association (MEA) have joined calls for employees across the country to be required to be vaccinated to enter their workplace.

Speaking on a current affairs programme on TVAM on Monday morning, Marisa Xuereb and Joseph Farrugia (Presidents of The Malta Chamber and MEA respectively) agreed that employees should be required to get jabbed, comparing the proposal to the upcoming vaccine mandate on hospitality establishments.

This came as Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci stated that the pandemic will not end with certainly until everyone in the world has been vaccinated.

Providing a rundown on the spread of the Omicron variant locally in recent weeks, Prof Gauci also stated that pandemic-related protocols will be reduced when the virus is declared endemic.

While they broadly backed vaccine mandates however, Ms Xuereb presented a nuanced perspective, differentiating between different working environments, pointing out that in the case of someone working alone in an office, the risk is “very small.”

However, she continued, in places with larger densities of people, an employer should have the right to require employees to get vaccines.

“Depending on the nature of the job, and based on a risk assessment, employers should have the option of obliging their staff to get vaccinated,” Ms Xuereb said, adding that she agreed with such extreme measures at workplaces where the risk of infection was high. 

“It should be up to employers to decide, and they should be backed by the authorities,” she said.

The two also discussed the situation facing employers, vis-a-vis COVID impacts.

Ms Xuereb reflected on the impact the rapid spread of the virus is having on already concerning staffing levels, saying: “Today I went into work and found that 20 per cent of my workforce is absent. It’s very difficult to operate a factory with only 80 per cent of the staff available.”

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