A furious debate has erupted over mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for workers, with stars of The Project at odds with each other over the controversial issue.
Host Kate Langbroek said it’s ‘repugnant’ for bosses to make their employees choice between getting the jab or getting the sack.
But fellow panellist Hamish MacDonald fired back, saying everyone has a right to be safe in their workplace and that someone else’s vaccine hesitancy can ‘impact other people’.
‘I’m not for mandatory vaccine for work,’ Langbroek said in the tense standoff.
‘I’m not an anti-vaxxer but I’m just very uncomfortable prescribing to people mandatorily what they have to put in their bodies in order to work.’
The television present said her ideology on the subject partly stems from her strict upbringing as a Jehovah’s Witness and the practice of disfellowshipping church members for slight indiscretions.
She argued that excommunicating people who choose not to get the vaccine is comparable to the religious group’s cruel tactic to make worshippers follow the rules.
‘I find it repugnant that they will be disfellowed from their lives because they have hesitation or doubts about vaccination,’ Langbroek said.
‘If you had the right to two go into your workplace and feel protected, does someone else also not have the right to decide what they put in their body?’
Kate Langbroek (pictured on The Project) said it’s ‘repugnant’ for bosses to make their employees choice between getting the jab or getting the sack
But fellow host MacDonald pointed out that employers have a duty of care to protect their workers.
‘It’s not just about that individual’s doubts or hesitation, the reality is that hesitation can impact other people and their health,’ he said.
‘So as an employer, you’re responsible not just to Kate, who might be cautious, you’re responsible to all your employees, right?
‘If you let Kate continue to come into work, you can transmit it to us and then we can transmit it to our families.’
Langbroek interjected by saying fully vaccinated workers shouldn’t be concerned if their colleagues bring Covid into the office – as they are protected against the virus.
‘But the vaccine doesn’t prevent you from contracting the virus or transmitting it,’ MacDonald replied.
‘It just reduces the likelihood that you will end up in hospital or that you will die.’
MacDonald said he’s worried that an unvaccinated worker could transmit the virus to him putting his family’s lives at risk.
‘I could take it to a residential aged care facility, where my father might be, and then spread it through there. I don’t want to do that.
‘I think we all have the right to be able to go to work and be able to work in a safe environment.
‘That’s a fundamental principle. People bringing COVID into the workplace is not safe.’
Langbroek, who is herself vaccinated, said she agreed with her colleague’s stance on the subject but still feels stymied by the ideological dilemma.
‘You would like to think that everyone you work with would make that decision (to get vaccinated),’ she said.
‘But if they haven’t made that decision, I just can’t in good conscience go along with it.
‘What, they can’t work?’