Malta’s rollout of the annual flu shot was disrupted on its first day after the union representing nurses issued industrial action to its members not to administer the vaccine.
“Primary HealthCare would like to advise the public that the administration of the flu shot could be disrupted in a number of localities because of industrial action issued by the MUMN,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.
“As soon as the industrial action stops, the schedule will resume as announced in recent days. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused and urge everyone who takes the flu shot to follow the Health Department’s directives, including regular hand-washing, social distancing and mask-wearing.”
The MUMN has long been protesting with the government over a lack of meal allowance to nurses in primary healthcare and the way extra leave is calculated when public holidays fall on a weekend.
Its President Paul Pace told Times of Malta that the industrial action will remain until the government agrees to its request.
“Nurses are making big sacrifices because of COVID-19. A lot of them have lost pay and are afraid of infecting their children,” he said. “We don’t just want applause. We want what is rightfully ours.”
Minn għada nibdew nagħtu l-vaċċin tal-#influwenza: din is-sena mportanti aktar minn qatt qabel minħabba l-covid. Grazzi kbira lill-istaff tagħna, li anke f'din huma #eroj.
Posted by Chris Fearne on Friday, October 9, 2020
However, Health Minister Chris Fearne urged the union to reconsider its decision, warning of the health risk if patients get infected by both influenza and COVID-19.
Indeed, the health authorities have procured 200,000 flu shot doses this year, double the usual amount, to safeguard against potential co-infection health risks.
What do you make of this industrial action?