[WATCH] Bernard Grech calls for independent inquiry into COVID vaccination programme

Opposition leader Bernard Grech says government must address vaccine roll out irregularities such as unscheduled walk-ins  

Opposition leader Bernard Grech
Opposition leader Bernard Grech

Nationalist Leader Bernard Grech has called for an independent inquiry into alleged irregularities in the country’s vaccine roll out. 

The Opposition leader was addressing a press conference following the announcement of new measures by government in light of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

The inquiry, Grech said, will see whether people who were not entitled to receive the vaccine, had been administered the jab.  

He also said that nurses at vaccination centres were not being given a list of those who were supposed to receive the vaccine, leading to irregularities.  

“We are seeing walk-ins at vaccination centres, that is not acceptable, when we have elderly people who are yet to receive their appointment,” Grech said.  

The PN leader said the time has come for more responsibility from government. 

“We are risking a collapse in the country’s health system. Contact tracing has broken down, and the pandemic is on the brink of losing control,” he said.   

Grech said that while he agrees with the newly announced measures, they came “too late”.  

“We as an opposition have called for teleworking countless times. They had ridiculed us, and now all of a sudden want to introduce it,” he said.  

He also called out government for “suddenly wanting to base its decisions on science.” 

“I am not convinced that the public health department is working without political pressure, I say this with responsibility because the health authorities should work without political interference,” he said.  

Chris Fearne allegations  

Addressing the press conference, MP Claudette Butigieg insisted that the health minister was lying.  

“Yesterday Fearne shifted his narrative a number of times. This shows he wasn’t saying the truth,” she said.  

In a heated exchange following parliamentary questions, Fearne said on Wednesday that multiple MPs from the Opposition benches personally approached the minister asking whether they or their family members could skip the vaccination queue. 

The Health Minister’s allegations were prompted by an insinuation from Bernard Grech that some people were jumping the vaccine queue. 

“I do have people asking me to jump the queue but I always refused… I also had a member of the Opposition parliamentary group asking me to jump the queue and told him off,” Fearne said, without naming the MP. 

Later in the plenary session, Bernard Grech clarified that the MP he advised not to skip the vaccination queue was Claudette Buttigieg. Buttigieg said that she was approached to take the vaccine before she was entitled to do so, but refused the offer on the advice of the Opposition leader. 

“This is symptomatic of Labour government. They think they can buy off anyone, and they are doing the same with the vaccine,” Pace said.  

READ ALSO: Chris Fearne won’t tell House who PN MPs asking to jump vaccine queue were