Anti-discrimination order on unvaxxed folks pushed
Councilor Mylen Victoria Yaranon has proposed an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against Baguio residents who are not vaccinated against the Covid-19.
Under the proposed ordinance, it shall be unlawful to discriminate against “vaccine-free” residents or to coerce them to get vaccinated. She said the unvaccinated should be allowed to buy essential goods, access essential services, use public transport, and do outdoor activities within their properties.
Stressing Labor Advisory 3, s. 2021 issued by the Department of Labor and Employment, Yaranon said people in the workplace must not be forced to be vaccinated and those who have not received the jabs must not be discriminated against.
The advisory provides that “refusal to get vaccinated should not be taken against a person nor should it be a cause for discrimination in terms of tenure, promotion, training, pay, and other benefits among others, nor should it be a cause for termination from employment.”
The advisory further reiterates that a “no vaccine, no work policy” shall not be allowed.
According to the proposed ordinance, unvaccinated employees shall be allowed to report onsite for work, provided they undergo RT-PCR or antigen testing every two weeks at their personal expense and present a Covid-19 negative result prior to being admitted for onsite work.
The RT-PCR or antigen testing, however, shall not be required under the following conditions: the unvaccinated employee presents a medical certificate recommending that they shall not be vaccinated; they present a certificate of membership of a religious denomination that does not allow its members to be vaccinated; or they are partially vaccinated and are waiting for their second dose.
In the proposed ordinance, Yaranon said the city government must take a sensible and ethical approach in its vaccination rollout.
She said the focus on the freedom of choice of every individual, especially if it concerns their health, should be reflected in the city’s policies throughout the pandemic.
Under the proposed ordinance, the City Health Services Office shall adopt in its Covid-19 vaccination program an information drive on the risks involved and put into place an adverse event reporting system to document potential side effects of the vaccine. This is to help residents make an informed consent on whether to get vaccinated or not.
The councilor cited the report of the Food and Drug Administration on the suspected adverse reactions to Covid-19 vaccines. According to the report, suspected adverse reactions experienced after vaccination are hypersensitivity including severe allergic reactions, increased blood pressure, thrombosis-thrombocytopenia syndrome, confirmed Covid-19 infections, inflammation of the heart, Capillary Leak Syndrome, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Bell’s palsy, and immune thrombocytopenia.
The said report, however, stated “a report of adverse reaction does not necessarily mean that the vaccine caused the reactions” and that a “mere suspicion may also be reported.”
“Undiagnosed illness, underlying co-morbidities, and pre-existing medical conditions unrelated to vaccination can be factors in reporting adverse reactions,” the report added.
The proposed measure has been referred to the sanggunian’s committee on health and sanitation, ecology, and environmental protection for review. – Jordan G. Habbiling