AURORA SHPATAJ

The Technical Committee of Experts declared on Monday, August 30 that vaccination will be mandatory for certain categories such as health professionals, educators and students. The experts are skeptical regarding the decision, arguing that this could lead to the phenomena of fictitious vaccination. However, mandatory vaccination is a mechanism that has previously been implemented in Italy, which except for public services is now ‘expanding’ mandatory vaccination even to smaller enterprises.

“Considering the civic responsibility to protect public health, the committee of experts has decided to recommend mandatory vaccination for most vulnerable groups from getting and spreading the infection starting with medical staff, educators and students.” – stated Vice minister of Health, Mira Rakacolli, also member of the National Committee of Experts.

This decision was preceded by a statement of Prime Minister Rama on August 26, when he inspected Residence No.2 in “Qytet Studenti”.

“… considering what is happening in the world and the increase in figures and the risk posed by the Delta variant, there might come a time when vaccination for students attending auditoriums will have to be mandatory, which will be communicated further on when the time is right, so consider yourselves warned. This is not a question of what you want or don’t want…- stated Prime Minister Rama among other things.

With the decision of August 30, the Committee of Experts insinuated that there are individuals of the two vulnerable categories such as teachers and doctors who have not been vaccinated or have refused vaccination, even though the vaccination process for teachers has started since March. Earlier Faktoje reported that not all medical staff has been subjected to vaccination..

In regard to the pedagogical staff, according to a statement by the Minister of Health Manastirliu, on June 10, 40 thousand individuals part of this category had been vaccinated, out of which 11 thousand have received both doses. On August 19, Faktoje addressed the Ministry of Health, inquiring regarding the figures of vaccinated medical staff, but up to the publication of this article, we have not received a response.

Request submitted to the Ministry of Health

Why do experts fear mandatory vaccination?

“I am against mandatory vaccination for all categories of citizens and professions. The state is required to provide alternatives to vaccination for people who don’t want to get vaccinated. For example, in Germany if someone doesn’t want to get vaccinated they are obliged to present a periodical testing certificate” – states expert Erion Dasho.

He warns against the issues that might rise in case vaccination becomes mandatory.

“If the government can’t even convince doctors, teachers and students to get vaccinated, then who else can they convince?! Thus the ministry and the committee have created such a deep gap with the public that the disbelief is pushing them towards undertakings similar to this one, that violate the rights and freedoms of the individual”- concludes Dasho.

Epidemiologist Ilir Alihmehemeti also voices his reservations about this approach.

“I do not agree. I doubt it will be effective. Establishing mandatory vaccination for these categories won’t boost vaccination rates from 27% to 77%.”- states Alimehmeti, who fears that the process will go along the way of abuse.

“This may lead to an increase in fictitious passports, meaning people showing a vaccination certificate when they aren’t actually vaccinated.

And you may be sitting next to them without being cautious, because they have a vaccination certificate. It is worth mentioning that our ministry takes example from Italy and in Italy they take into consideration natural immunization which lasts up to 12 months. What about our country, how will they verify if a citizen has had COVID-19? Mandatory vaccination solves nothing for public health.”

The “lesson” we get from Italy regarding mandatory vaccination

 Italy, the European state which was hit the hardest following the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has made the anti-COVID vaccination certificate mandatory, also known as green passfor several public services, starting with public transportation means (trains, ferries, airplanes) to bars and restaurants and schools starting from September 1, as announced by the official website of the Italian Ministry of Health. But getting the vaccine is being required by all structures of the Italian state even if not officially, as we have learned by talking to many Albanian citizens who live and work in Italy.

Faktoje contacted Ledina A., a 50-year-old who has been living in Italy for three decades and was in Albania to spend her summer vacations. Ledina teaches ballet to several groups of children in Torino. She states for Faktoje that a day ago she received through WhatsApp a message from the directors of the center where she works that she was required to get the anti-COVID vaccine.

“Getting the vaccine is not mandatory, but due to the fact that we are in contact with people and the risk of spreading COVID-19 and its variants we will have to suspend you if you don’t get the vaccine” – stated the message according to Ledina, who will have to go back to work in Italy in two days.

“I have to get the vaccine as soon as I go back; there is no other way even though I am skeptical regarding the vaccine.”- stated Ledina for Faktoje.

See also:

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