Singapore’s vaccination drive has been really successful thus far, about 96% of our workforce is vaccinated. Over the weekend, it was announced that vaccinated employees will be allowed to return to their workplaces from 2022. Unvaccinated employees will not be allowed to return to their workplaces unless they take regular PET tests and test negative for them. These employees have to bear their own costs for these tests. Please note that this applies to those who are medically eligible to but choose not to be vaccinated.
Some people have taken to the net to clamour that it’s not right and decries human rights. However, is it really unfair for Singapore to ask that these people bear their own costs for their decisions?
What netizens say
However, others point out that those medically eligible to be vaccinated but choose not to are not being fair to those who are vaccinated. Ultimately, the tests that they pay for are to protect themselves, since they are more likely to fall seriously ill from contracting Covid-19. It is unfair to pass the costs to employers either since some made the personal decision to be unvaccinated.
Special considerations given to those who are medically ineligible or pregnant
Many netizens also made the mistake of not actually reading the article on the news. They assumed that it was unfair for those who are medically ineligible for the vaccine or have special reasons like pregnancy.
To be clear, MOM and tripartite partners including NTUC and the SNEF support the advisory that asks for special considerations to be given to those who are medically ineligible for vaccines and pregnant employees.
In such cases, employers should:
- Allow the employees to work from home if they are able to do so and their absence from the workplace should not affect assessment of their performance; or
- Redeploy the employees to suitable jobs which can be done from home if such jobs are available, with remuneration commensurate with the responsibilities of the alternative jobs; or
- Exempt the employees from the workforce vaccination measures (such as having to take the PET) if they need to work on-site.
Putting Singapore’s vaccination numbers into perspective
There is a loud minority clamouring that the differentiated measures are unfair. But the truth is, majority of our workforce is vaccinated. As of 17 Oct 2021, 96% of the total workforce has been vaccinated. Nevertheless, there remains around 113,000 employees who have yet to be vaccinated. Of these 113,000 employees, only a small proportion are medically ineligible for vaccination in Singapore.
The Government understands that some people are medically ineligible for vaccination and stands with them. This is by giving them special considerations and exempting them from certain requirements as mentioned earlier.