Last week, massive protests have erupted within major cities – including New York, London and Valletta – in countries that have started implementing the use of COVID-19 vaccination certificates. While people have more or less gotten used to this new normality of having to live with this ongoing pandemic, there is growing concern within the general public that vaccinated people would be granted more leeway in regards to certain situations that include closed areas and/or people from different households meeting. The protest is also a response to those companies that are giving their workers an ultimatum: get vaccinated, or lose your job.
In some countries, it is a requirement for people to be vaccinated in order for them to use facilities such as cinemas, bars, restaurants and airports, restricting movement between borders. (Hawaii introduced the requirement of vaccine passports as of July 2021, but it hadn’t gone as smoothly as hoped).*
In France, just over 100,000 people have rallied in a protest with regards to the implementation of COVID-19 certificates and the enforcement of vaccination.
Quite a large gathering of people, most of which were not wearing masks, held a protest (without an official police permit) in Valletta a few days ago as a response to the recent development of these COVID-19 certificates. Signs saying “I have the right to choose”, “Freedom” and “No Vaccines” could be seen riding the wave of the unmasked crowd. A few protestors even wore the star of David, comparing themselves to the Jews that were inhumanely persecuted and killed in concentration camps during World War 2. A handful of protestors even wore T-shirts that claimed the virus is a hoax.*
While the current COVID situation in Malta is becoming worse, these protests are a clear indication of the anxiety and fear people are experiencing around the globe due to this drastic shift in work and interactions with one another. However, this should not be used as an excuse to avoid being vaccinated. Apart from the selfish reason of being less susceptible to acquiring the virus and it having a lesser effect on you if unfortunately you happen to test positive, anybody that is allowed to take the vaccine should do so for the sake of those that cannot due to a multitude of reasons, such as being immunocompromised because of certain medications or health conditions.
There are ample sources that show that the vaccine does indeed work – and like every other vaccine, it is not 100% effective. A brilliant example of this is the polio vaccine; polio has since been eradicated worldwide, despite the vaccine not being 100% effective
Written by: Matthew J. Cassar