Teachers and other staff in private educational institutions have been told they must take the COVID-19 vaccine if they wish to form part of the next scholastic year.
Lovin Malta has been informed that certain schools have told their staff that it’s mandatory for them to have taken the vaccine and must present a vaccine certificate by the start of next year.
Some have told their staff that they are only exempt from taking the vaccine if they have medical issues and must take their concerns to HR to accommodate them. However, sources have told this newsroom that some schools have not allowed for the exemption.
The decision will potentially test the legal limits of an institution’s ability to issue mandatory requirements for their staff to be vaccinated, raising ethical, legal, and privacy concerns.
Employers demanding vaccinations is nothing new for Malta or Europe. For example, third-country nationals are required to get several vaccines, including the COVID-19 jab if they want to continue working in the country.
Meanwhile, Italy has already issued decrees requiring workers in health care facilities to be vaccinated. It has also allowed hospital employers to suspend without pay any health care workers who refuse to do so.
In 2017, Italy also made some vaccinations compulsory for children, including for measles, and barred the unvaccinated from attending school — a decision backed by Italy’s constitutional court.
A sticking point, however, could be an EU resolution concerning COVID-19 vaccines, which states that vaccination should not be mandatory, that “no one under political, social or other should be pressured to be vaccinated if they do not wish to do so”, and that people who have not been vaccinated, whether for health concerns or simply not wanting to get inoculated, should be not be discriminated against.
It remains to be seen whether the decision goes against Malta’s privacy and employment laws.
Malta has overseen an impressive vaccination campaign with over 340,000 people receiving either a second dose or the Johnson and Johnson jab. It has so far proven effective in battling the virus, with Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne revealing that around 90% of Malta’s newly detected COVID-19 cases were unvaccinated, while the three patients who were admitted to hospital with the virus over the past week weren’t inoculated either.
Sources who spoke to Lovin Malta did not want the schools to be named.
Should staff at schools be required to take the vaccine?