Opinions on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination divide in Latvia’s parliament

40.36% of Latvia’s residents have completed their vaccination course. The goal is much higher than that and politicians are looking for solutions. One of them is compulsory vaccination – at least in some sectors.
Not all politicians, in the coalition included, are thrilled about this solution.
Chairman of Saeima’s Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee Juris Rancāns believes the Minister of Health Daniels Pavļuts should use the rights outlined in the Cabinet of Ministers regulations and make vaccination compulsory for a select group of residents.
The chairman of the committee referenced article eight of vaccination regulations – that in the event of an epidemic or threat of epidemic, the minister of health is authorized to issue an order for compulsory vaccination of certain groups of residents.
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Saeima deputy Krišjānis Feldmans, on the other hand, believe that by halting the review of the vaccination legislative draft in the aforementioned committee, the government should think about ways to move forward.
The parliamentarian said when the legislative draft landed in the Saeima there were concerns it would have to be reworked. Saeima’s defence committee developed it in three days, reviewing 36 proposals in the process. «It was very difficult because every next proposal could have potentially led to a situation when would would have had to review all previously supported proposals,» explains the deputy.
He also stressed that the existing legislation in Latvia already includes a number of regulations. For example, certain nuances are already detailed in Vaccination Rules. This means they can be implemented without a new law. The issue of employers’ rights to rotate employees if they refuse to vaccinate remains open as well.
Feldmans says Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš is not entirely confident about the legislative draft submitted to the Saeima.
He said the prime minister has a different plan – the Saeima will be happy if this legislative draft is never reviewed, considering how much energy it has already cost.
To fix this vaccination legislative draft, it is necessary to find new proposals that may result in a wild mess, said Feldmans, adding that this law is already rather long and more resembles a manual. He believes laws should get to the point and it is the rules of the Cabinet of Ministers that should be more like guidelines.
Saeima deputy Raivis Dzintars believes it would be better to stop viewing the legislative draft stuck in the committee and instead focus on solutions on which there is a higher degree of acceptance in society.
He also said wider vaccination is not only in the interest of Latvia’s nation but also the country’s national economy and economic welfare.
Latvian Trade Union of Educators and Researchers, meanwhile, invites politicians to be quick with listing specific professions for compulsory vaccination, because employers expect clarity.
Saeima deputy Juris Pūce says politicians don’t have a lot of time to decide on Covid-19 solutions to avoid burdening the healthcare system.