Opposition ‘should not play politics with vaccinations’, Govt says
Concerns about restrictions on unvaccinated people visiting relatives in hospital or elderly care “are being blown out of all proportion” by the GSD for political ends, the Gibraltar Government said yesterday.
No.6 Convent Place said it sympathised with those people, but insisted it had a duty to protect the most vulnerable in the community, even against the backdrop of the successful vaccination programme.
“The Opposition clearly have nothing better to do than to keep on repeating the same thing again and again, day after day, without regard or understanding for the points that the Government has made,” the government said in a statement.
“The Government has repeatedly explained that the reason unvaccinated visitors are not allowed into hospital or into elderly care facilities is based on public health and medical considerations and that the matter is under constant review.”
“Given that the Opposition are not experts in any of this, it will surprise nobody that their constant repetitions add precious little to the debate.”
The Government said it “fully respects” the right of an individual to choose whether or not to be vaccinated.
But its policy is based on Public Health advice that seeks to protect vulnerable people in the care of GHA and ERS.
The feedback that the Government has received from families of service users themselves is that they wish to keep their relatives as safe as possible and not expose them to any unnecessary risk, No.6 said, adding the GSD’s criticism “smacks of sour grapes.”
Government data shows that a total of over 67,000 vaccines against Covid-19 have been administered in Gibraltar.
“This positive story has grabbed the news headlines all over the world and the Government is very grateful to all those who have made it happen,” No.6 said in a statement.
“This means that the vast majority of people have had the vaccine.”
No.6 acknowledged that there are genuine cases of persons unable to have it administered for medical reasons and alternative vaccines have been sourced for such instances.
There are other cases where persons simply do not want to be vaccinated, which is their right.
“This does not detract from the fact that there are comparatively few unvaccinated citizens in Gibraltar who have family in ERS or in the GHA and who want to visit them,” No.6 added.
“In fact, the category has narrowed even further now that special arrangements are being made in a number of circumstances, for example, for pregnant women who cannot be vaccinated, visits to patients in end of life situations and where the unvaccinated visitor has had Covid-19 up to six months before the visit.”
“The Government fully sympathise with the reduced number of people who may find themselves in this category, but the Opposition should not be allowed to play politics with their difficult predicament.”