'What about my boss?' helpers question jab mandate - RTHK
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'What about my boss?' helpers question jab mandate

2021-05-01 HKT 14:25
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  • 'What about my boss?' helpers question jab mandate
Foreign domestic helpers say they're concerned and aggrieved at the government's plan to require vaccination before they can renew their visa, as many used their Labour Day holiday to take a mandatory coronavirus test.

The government on Friday ordered the SAR's 370,000 foreign domestic helpers to take a test by May 9 and said it's looking to make vaccination a requirement for visa renewals, after two helpers were confirmed to have a more infectious Covid strain.

Huge crowds were seen snaking outside a community testing centre in Yau Ma Tei on Saturday, many of whom were foreign domestic helpers.

"My boss said there's no need to make a booking, you just go there and queue for about an hour," said one of those in the line, adding that her employer has now requested that she stay home during her days off.

Most foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) RTHK spoke to said they understood the government's mandatory testing order, but the plan to make vaccination a visa requirement made them feel they were being discriminated against and treated unfairly.

"Look at the news. They just talked about the FDHs. How about the employers? How about the other people, not only the FDH?," asked one helper named Sale, who was spending time with her friends on a footbridge in Admiralty.

"The employers, they go outside every day for work, but the domestic helpers just stay at home, I think it's discrimination," she added.

Another said she remained hesitant to get vaccinated because even her employer has misgivings over the inoculation.

"They themselves don't want to take it, she said it's very risky," said the woman named Merly, noting that her employers have trusted her to maintain good hygienic and distancing practices.

"[What] if something happens to us?," she asked, "I don't have any medical history in Hong Kong. For nine years I never go to the doctor, so I don't know what's going on inside me."

Despite the concerns, most of them said they would get inoculated sooner or later, pointing out that it is a government order.

But one helper who gave her name as Glory was more positive toward the policy.

"It's for our own protection since the virus is spreading," she said. "I think everybody should get vaccinated."