Complacency and Hesitancy

Complacency and Hesitancy

Not everyone is following the health safety protocols as seen in this file photo of workers on their way to their workplace. (Photo courtesy by AP)

Stubborn and ardent clinging to one’s opinion is the best proof of stupidity.

— French philosopher Michel de Montague

IN the Philippines, companies have the right not to employ workers who have not been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. This is according to Labor Secretary Silvestre ‘Bebot’ Bello III as an answer to queries and criticism by labor unions of several large corporations turning down unvaccinated applicants.

But these unions need to realize that the hiring of employees is an employer’s right so corporations can by law refuse to accept unvaccinated workers,

Bello explained that before a person is employed, there is actually no employer-employee relationship so as to whether one can be employed, that’s the privilege of the employer. He added that vaccine requirements are a valid yet added qualification for someone to qualify for a job they are applying for.

Sometimes employers specify something that they are looking for, like a 25-year-old with a pleasing personality. If you don’t have a pleasing personality, they can reject you, right? It’s a valid qualification, correct?

Despite the drastic effect of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic that triggered the government to implement stringent measures that set health safety protocols and restrictions, those seeking employment must now realize that getting vaccinated is not only for one’s own good but is also for the good of others.

And in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19, especially with the presence of the more contagious Delta strain of the coronavirus and other variants of concern, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID has now required all employees to be fully vaccinated against the deadly disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 or SAR-CoV-2.

Bello described the policy as a valid exercise of the power of the state to safeguard the health and well-being of the Filipino people.

Still, labor groups such as Nagkaisa pointed out that its criticism of employers is not to oppose the government’s vaccination policy but an appeal to companies to provide a grace period for applicants to get vaccinated. And lawyer Sonny Matula likewise stressed that the Covid vaccine issue should not be weaponized by companies to violate workers’ rights.

Matula envisioned that he will continue the advocacy of the labor sector to promote and respect workers’ rights such as the fight against contractualization, the national minimum wage and better bargaining power for workers, especially during the health crisis the country is experiencing.

Yet there is a prevailing hesitancy among our countrymen to get themselves vaccinated—even with efforts of the government to push for the inoculation of at least 80 percent of the total population in order to achieve herd immunity and finally get a headway in the fight against Covid-19.

And despite the hesitancy, Baguio Bishop Victor Bendico has renewed his call for Catholics to receive the available vaccines regardless of what brand or make. He also urged his fellow prelates to get vaccinated so that they could serve the Church fully and with more charity. The bishop continued his call by saying that every Catholic has a moral duty to keep each other safe from the virus.

Addressing the workplace issue, he said the policy is meant to keep everyone safe: “We need to make sure we are not carriers of the virus ourselves. Thus, we need to be vaccinated.”

There is truth in this but we now see that it is not only vaccine hesitancy that is the problem.

There is also the concern of some that more and more are becoming complacent with the easing of restrictions and we see a lot of our neighbors going about mask-less and uncaring about the policies of physical distancing and limiting movement.

We see young adults and senior citizens moving around outside their homes and apparently without any essential reason to travel or go out of their residences.

This is a legitimate concern as vaccinated or not, we can be carriers of the virus without us knowing it.


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