She added that while she understood that the Government was concerned about the health of the unvaccinated employees, such employees “must have strong reasons based on their own individual circumstances”.
“Harbouring doubts about vaccination is not unreasonable. When faced with a situation that is relatively new and where there are many gaps in our knowledge and information, it is always a good idea to keep an open mind,” she said.
Ms Poa asked for the breakdown of unvaccinated employees by age and industry and the number of those expected to lose their jobs.
“Has the Government studied the impact on these 52,000 unvaccinated employees and an unknown number of unvaccinated self-employed person before making its decision?” she asked, referring to a figure given the Ministry of Health on Dec 19.
Measures that threaten livelihoods “should never be taken lightly”, she added.
48,000 UNVACCINATED EMPLOYEES
Ms Rahayu said that the move had been supported by the tripartite partners, who “recognised the public health imperative of vaccination and the urgency to sustain business activity to protect livelihoods”.
“A fully vaccinated workforce would be able to operate more safely and sustainably,” she said.
Ms Rahayu also provided updates on the number of unvaccinated employees. As of Jan 2, 48,000 of them had not taken any vaccine dose, a drop from the 52,000 figure given on Dec 19.
A third, or 16,000 of them are from the 30 to 39 age group, she said.
She added that employees who are certified medically ineligible for vaccines under the national vaccination programme are allowed to return to the workplace, given that they constitute only 0.3 per cent of unvaccinated workers, a “very small proportion”.