Covid-19 vaccine will not be mandatory – Abela

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

An eventual Covid-19 vaccine will not be mandatory in Malta, Prime Minister Robert Abela said in Parliament today.

Abela delivered a ministerial statement on the latest European Council, highlighting, among other things, that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had updated the EU’s political leaders on the Commission’s efforts to secure eventual Covid-19 vaccines in advance.

But opposition to vaccines – or scepticism about them – has been growing in Europe, and a parliamentary petition was opened last month, bearing the somewhat leading title “will you help protect our human rights in Malta during Covid?” The petition, which has been signed by just under 900 people so far, argues that vaccines should not only be non-mandatory, but those who choose not to vaccinate should not face any restrictions.

Abela’s declaration may appease their concerns, though he did not elaborate on any restrictions the non-vaccinated may face.

Amid criticism, Abela insists Covid-19 should not be politicised

In his own intervention, PN MP Beppe Fenech Adami argued that Malta’s “tourism catastrophe” could have been avoided had the government not sent all the wrong messages before flights resumed. He mocked the “wisdom” of a government which promoted Malta as a destination for activities which all other countries sought to avoid.

He lamented that people had effectively become immune to the deaths from Covid-19 which were occurring almost daily. Malta is presently reporting the highest mortality rate from Covid-19 in the EU.

But Abela chose not to address the criticism levelled at his government’s pandemic policies, insisting instead that it should not be politicised.