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4 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 8 MAY 2022 NEWS 61% of Maltese believe taking vaccine still a civic duty Support for mandatory vaccination in Malta falls from 52% to 45% JAMES DEBONO 92% of Maltese say they are vaccinated, but enthusiasm for making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory has waned com- pared to last year, a Eurobarom- eter survey found. The percentage of Maltese who believe that "everyone should get vaccinated against COVID-19 because it is a civic duty" fell by 15 points between May 2021 and February 2022 while the percentage of those who believe the vaccine should be mandatory has fallen from 52% to 45%. But the survey still showed strong support for restricting access to some events or plac- es to unvaccinated people. In fact, in February 66% of Maltese favoured restricting access to unvaccinated people. Most of these restrictions were subse- quently lifted. But the absolute majority of Maltese (61%) still believe that taking the vaccine is a civic du- ty. On average, across the EU, 67% agree that it is a civic duty to get vaccinated, four points more than in May 2021. The largest proportion agree- ing that it is a civic duty to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is reported in those countries which lost most lives to the virus in the early stages of the pandemic namely Italy (83%), followed by Spain and Portu- gal (both 81%). In May 2021, respondents in these three countries were also more likely than their counterparts in oth- er countries to agree with this statement. In sharp contrast, in six coun- tries, less than half of respond- ents agree that it is a civic duty to get vaccinated, with the over- all lowest proportions observed in Bulgaria (38%), Slovakia (39%) and Hungary (41%). On average, across the EU, there are now more citizens agreeing that it is a civic duty to get vac- cinated. Moreover, 62% of the Maltese cannot understand why people are reluctant to get vaccinated. When asked about vaccines in general, although 80% believe vaccines are safe, a small minor- ity (14%) disagrees. Worryingly, vaccine sceptics have increased by seven points over last year. The survey also reports a sev- en-point drop in the percentage of Maltese who believe that vac- cination should be compulsory. Presently only 45% of Maltese believe that the vaccine should become mandatory compared to 56% of all EU respondents and 73% of Italians. The survey also shows that 55% agree with vaccinating chil- dren against COVID-19. In about half of the member states, a majority of respondents agree that it is good to vaccinate children against COVID-19, with respondents in Italy, Fin- land, Portugal and Spain being overall the most likely to agree with this statement (70%-72%). The survey confirms wide- spread satisfaction with the way the national authorities and the EU have handled vaccination. Although the vast majority of Maltese (71%) are satisfied with the vaccination strategy of their government, the proportion of those being satisfied has de- creased by 14 percentage points compared to May 2021. 67% are also satisfied with the way the EU has handled the vaccination strategy, 8 points less than in May 2021. Malta EU27 Vaccine should be mandatory 45% 56% Taking vaccine is a civic duty 61% 67% Government handled vaccination well 71% 49% EU handled vaccination well 67% 53% Good to vaccinate children 66% 71% ADPD – The Green Party yesterday said the electoral mechanism that led to the largest parliament ever, was discriminatory and had completely ignored third party votes. ADPD chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said the new parliament was a reflection of a legal- ly rigged system, meant to favour PL and PN. "ADPD's first preference votes, 4747, are much more than the national quote and should also be represented in parliament - because every vote counts. It is not just votes cast in favour of PL and PN that are of value, but every citizen's should have value," Caco- pardo said. He argued that every vote counted and that the proportionality guarantee should be ex- tended to all parties. "Each day that ADPD representatives are barred from parliament is an injustice against those voters that have shown their trust in this party's policies with their vote," Caco- pardo said. He stated that the gender balance mecha- nism was applicable exclusively to the two parties already in parliament. "While ADPD is in favour measures to bring about gender balance in parliament it is totally against mechanisms that are discriminatory by their very nature and reserved only for the PL and PN," Cacopardo said. He said it was possible to have an electoral system that was representative of different political colours and genders without going beyond 65 seats. The parliamentary group has increased by 14 seats in this legislature, due to the gender corrective mechanism. "We are convinced that there is no political will to implement the necessary electoral re- forms that bring about just treatment across the board. ADPD was left with no other ave- nue than to go to the Constitutional Court," Cacopardo said. Gender quota ignored third party votes – ADPD

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