Why workers should not be forced to be vaccinated

Why workers should not be forced to be vaccinated

It is clear that vaccination does not stop someone from contracting or spreading coronavirus.

What it has proven effective in doing is greatly reducing the chance of hospitalisation and almost eliminating the possibility of death.

And that’s an important reason for governments to encourage people to take up vaccination.

Those who choose not to be vaccinated, and that is a personal medical choice that should be respected, are largely only a risk to themselves and others who have made the same choice.

Many will suffer few or no symptoms. Others will suffer greatly, be hospitalised and a small percentage will die. That is their choice, just as some people who are vaccinated will have side effects and one in a million might die.

Unvaccinated workers are largely only a risk to themselves, to other unvaccinated workers and to unvaccinated customers. By Christmas all will have made their choice.

Scott Morrison is right to rule out legislation to mandate vaccinations in the workplace or elsewhere.

And in legal advice released by the Fair Work Ombudsman, companies that mandate vaccinations for workers risk legal action unless they are operating in a designated Covid hotspot.

Legally and politically, our operating principle is choice.

As an act of grace, in the same way the public health system does not discriminate against smokers and those with bad diets, we should treat unvaccinated Covid victims with dignity and the best health care.

We must also make sure those who choose not to be vaccinated are not treated as second class citizens - barred from restaurants, cinemas and the footy.

There are times when for public health reasons coercion may be necessary. But given the risk is largely with the individual who chooses not to be vaccinated, Covid 19 is not such an occasion.

Encourage and incentivise, but not coerce.

Lyle Shelton is Director of Campaigns and Communications for the Christian Democratic Party. The Reverend Honourable Fred Nile MLC has nominated Lyle to succeed him in the NSW Parliament when he retires in November. To keep in touch with Lyle and the CDP, sign up here.