'No choice but to comply with jab requirement' - RTHK
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'No choice but to comply with jab requirement'

2021-08-02 HKT 13:30
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  • 'No choice but to comply with jab requirement'
Natale Ching reports
Not all public sector staff were happy on Monday with the government's announcement that those who haven't taken Covid-19 jabs will have to pay for regular coronavirus testing out of their own pocket, but said they have no choice but to comply.

According to an internal notice, government workers will have to get at least one shot of the vaccine or be required to get tested every two weeks from Monday, and they'll have to pay for their own tests from September 1 onwards.

The head of the Federation of Civil Service Unions, Leung Chau-ting, said on an RTHK radio programme that union groups had not been notified in advance of the new policy.

Leung said it's not clear yet what disciplinary action would face those who fail to comply, adding that compulsory testing would be a financial burden for low-paid employees who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons.

A civil servant surnamed Yu, who suffers from several minor health problems, echoed Leung's comments.

She said paying HK$240 for each test would be a "burden" for her.

Yu also said regular testing is "very troublesome and wastes a lot of time", but that she has no choice but to comply.

Another civil servant who has been with the government for six years said the policy is "rather forceful".

"As [the government] requires, I will follow, but I don't really want to take the jabs. This is not my will. [The vaccine] is effective, but not very comprehensive. I could simply wear masks," she says.

But another government worker, surnamed Wong, said the internal notice has spurred him into action.

"Honestly I've made my reservation after the notice. It may be kind of a motivation for the staff to get vaccinated, it is a very effective way to do so," he said.

"But having our own decisions might be better."

Another staff, surnamed Chong, who has received the shots and has been working for the SAR for decades, said he does not think the requirement is a problem as it is time for the government to implement a stronger policy to encourage vaccination.

"I don't think there is any other choice for the government but to [urge] more people to [get] the jabs," he said.