Equal Opportunity Center Unia recorded a spike in notifications between August and October due to the expansion of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST), which was initially intended for travel and group events. Following the release of a second report on the impact of the pandemic on human rights, Yunia said the CST had “expanded in time and space at the end of the summer, without indicating where it would end”.
“Although the CST does not necessarily imply discrimination, the actions it takes and the way they are communicated creates a real sense of injustice in the population that can polarize society,” the center said. Between August 21 and October 15, Unia registered 1,255 CST communications, nearly half of all reports received.
“The CST has been repeatedly advocated as a tool to increase vaccination coverage,” said Unia Director Els Ketsman. It seems that “if that was the goal, legal compliance, for example for certain professional sectors, would have been preferable”.
According to Keytsman, Unia understands the risks of mandatory vaccination. “It should be proportional, limited to what is absolutely necessary, and above all inclusive. It should not be imposed without concomitant measures, in order to avoid excluding or stigmatizing groups of the population already at risk or marginalized in a professional context,” Kitsman said. The CST should also be restricted to the sectors considered to be the most risky.In this way, expansion into other professions without real justification should be avoided.
The report shows that the vaccination strategy and the Committee on Science and Technology are increasing the sense of mistrust among citizens. “The actions taken and the way they are communicated continues to generate a sense of discrimination and injustice among the population.” It is said that there are particular criticisms of the “duplication of society by case of vaccination”.
Getting to the workplace
Unia also received a lot of questions about access to work and internships. According to the center, it is not uncommon for vaccination to be required by law in sectors where people are most exposed to the virus, in order to protect both employees and people who come into contact with them. This is also the case for hepatitis B and tetanus, for example. On the other hand, Unia asserts that the employer cannot impose such a thing himself as long as the law does not provide for this.
The Equal Opportunity Center also states that mandatory vaccination must go hand in hand with strengthening existing protection measures, for the benefit of all workers involved.
“Employers should not automatically turn off unvaccinated employees, or simply reject applicants if they have not been vaccinated,” Yunia said. “Those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons are entitled to reasonable accommodations and therefore cannot simply be removed from work,” the book states.
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