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Compulsory vaccination is coming

Compulsory vaccination increasingly likely

Making vaccination compulsory to enter workplaces and certain public spaces seems a certainty if the statements from the government, business and labour this week are anything to go by.

In a televised address to the nation on 28 November, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government has been engaging with social partners and other stakeholders on introducing measures that will make vaccination a condition for access to places of work and to public events, transport and establishments.

He said there was “broad agreement” at Nedlac on the need for such measures.

The government has appointed a task team that will undertake “broad consultations” on making vaccination mandatory for “specific activities and locations”.

The team will report to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Vaccination, which will make recommendations to Cabinet on a “fair and sustainable” approach to vaccine mandates, Ramaphosa said.

The Institute of Risk Management South Africa (Irmsa) is one of the organisations that welcomed the appointment of the task team.

Irmsa chief executive Pat Semenya said the organisation acknowledged that mandatory vaccinations can be controversial and even divisive. However, any recommendations made by the task team should be carefully considered. “It is vital that its work is done unhampered and speedily.”

Irmsa also supported Ramaphosa’s call for South Africans to be vaccinated.

In his address, the president said 41% of the adult population has received at least one vaccine dose, and 35.6% of adult South Africans were fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

He said 57% of people aged 60 or above were fully vaccinated, and 53% of people aged between 50 and 60 were fully vaccinated.

‘Ban unvaccinated from certain public spaces’

Business for South Africa (B4SA) said this week that unvaccinated individuals should be prevented from entering certain public indoor areas and called for the compulsory vaccination of employees.

“We need to rapidly move to a situation where only vaccinated individuals should be allowed to travel in buses, taxis and airplanes, or to eat and drink in indoor establishments, such as restaurants and taverns. This is in line with global restrictions and based on the science regarding airborne disease. Ventilation and masks remain important, but we now need to look at enforcing a further layer of protection,” said B4SA chairperson Martin Kingston.

B4SA said the obligation of ensuring a safe working environment for employees and customers included, in many instances, restricting access to vaccinated individuals and implementing vaccine mandates “wherever possible”.

Business Leadership SA chief executive Busi Mavuso said in her weekly newsletter that she supported the introduction of vaccine mandates by employers, “both to keep those who are vaccinated safe while at work and to increase pressure on others to get vaccinated”.

Mavuso said vaccine mandates should also be imposed on “key transmission points, including public transport and large-scale events”.

Hard and soft mandates at UWC

Meanwhile, the University of the Western Cape said that, from the start of the 2022 academic year, all staff and students will have to be vaccinated to enter the campus or attend university events.

In terms of its general, or “soft”, mandate, those who are not vaccinated will be permitted to register for their degree or module but may not enter the campus or attend university events. “This rule will also be strictly applied to the placement of students at all UWC residences.”

However, the “soft” mandate will not apply to students and staff in certain faculties – for example, the Faculty of Dentistry – and programmes, such as nursing and pharmacy. In these cases, the “hard” mandate will apply: students will have to be vaccinated in order to register at UWC.

Online learning and teaching will continue in most faculties in 2022.

Students, staff, service providers and visitors may apply for an exemption from the policy based on verifiable medical, constitutional or religious grounds.

Not all unions on board

Cosatu also welcomed the appointment of the task team, saying South Africans needed to engage on requiring vaccinations to enter public spaces.

The labour federation said it has received “many complaints” from vaccinated members who fear for their safety as some of their colleagues are not vaccinated.

It said vaccines are central to ensuring that the right to life is protected, and people who are not vaccinated pose a serious risk to others, including those who have been vaccinated.

“Individual choice and minority rights cannot be at the expense of majority rights, let alone the right to life.”

However, not all trade unions are on board with mandatory vaccination.

The Public Servants Association, which represents more than 235 000 civil servants, including teachers and health workers, said vaccination should be voluntary. “Many people are still afraid on the effects of the vaccine and making vaccination mandatory will add to this anxiety.”

The Southern African Policing Union and the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union are also opposed to making vaccination mandatory.

94% of Discovery employees vaccinated

Meanwhile, Discovery said that, by 26 November, 94% (9 897) of its employees have been vaccinated since it announced on 3 September that vaccination would be mandatory for its South Africa-based employees from 1 January 2022.

“At present, 583 employees are not vaccinated. Within this group, approximately 240 employees plan to vaccinate prior to the end of the year, and approximately 330 members of staff have lodged written objections to the mandatory vaccination policy,” Discovery Group chief executive Adrian Gore said.

Discovery said staff vaccination was projected to exceed 97% before the peak of a predicted fourth wave in early 2022. This is likely if 40% of employees who have lodged objections to vaccination decide to be vaccinated and if 63% of those who have said they plan to be vaccinated follow through on their undertaking.

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9 Responses to Compulsory vaccination increasingly likely

  1. Wayne Fouche 2 December 2021 at 1:38 pm #

    So the Government wishes to overrule peoples constitutional right to refuse the vaccination?

    I wonder how they will force their” followers ” to comply?

    I forecast riots aplenty.

  2. Premakrishnan Gounder 2 December 2021 at 2:23 pm #

    Government and businesses have to accept any responsibility for adverse effects of the vaccines. Since they are so sure the vaccination will help. They should have no fear in accepting responsibility. There should be no need to hide behind wavering citizens rights.

  3. Craig 2 December 2021 at 2:34 pm #

    Our government is hardly a credible source of anything. Didn’t Cyril say he would make sure that the R 500 million would not be squandered or stolen? How much was stolen? Most of it.
    Didn’t they say they’d crackdown on corruption? How many people are in jail for corruption? Very few. And the ones that are, stole crumbs.

    For all we know, the vaccines are being produced by the cheapest supplier that kicked back the biggest amount. They could be filled with water for all we know.

    • Raman Alan Pillay 2 December 2021 at 2:44 pm #

      If the vaccines are scientific,then government and employers should have absolutely no problem in accepting responsibility for any adverse reactions from these vaccines.

  4. Chastin Dreyer 2 December 2021 at 2:56 pm #

    Internationally our infection numbers are very low in comparison to other countries where the majority are vaccinated, I am NOT anti vax but will not be getting this vaccine and will not be giving it to my children either. The virus is a type of flu and it will not stabilise to the point where a singular vaccine will ever be enough, you are looking at at the very least an annual booster like the regular flu vaccine and it will take time to even get to that. There is absolutely no reason why people should be forced to get this vaccine or to blame unvaccinated persons for the failure of government. I have had swine flu and covid, swine flu was significantly worse and no one shut down for that or any of the other major or significant virus’s that have done the rounds over the past decade or so. I personally have friends and colleagues who have lost loved ones after receiving the vaccine, I also know people who have passed away due to covid complications and many many people who have caught covid worse than I had it as an unvaccinated person. We need to stop trying to find blame and work towards putting the economy back together, we do not need to pin people against each other in order to do this. If a person wants the vaccine that is their choice and neither side should be judged for their choice or should be forced to explain why they decided either way.

  5. Aaron 3 December 2021 at 11:53 am #

    Tyranny

  6. L Moeketsi 3 December 2021 at 5:32 pm #

    I will not vaccinate nor will my children. Government spent 500 billion on nothing but air. Can they show us the beneficiaries of the billions. China carries on with their daily routines while we pay they price for what is not ours. We embraced HIV/AIDS now we must embrace covid. Government knew where those people who cam from europe were. Why did they allow the situation to be where it is. Those people should have stayed in isolation and leave the rest of us alone. The President can go jump. I didn’t steal i didnt benefit i refuse to give my body for experimentation.

  7. L Motsepe 3 December 2021 at 5:33 pm #

    I will not vaccinate nor will my children. Government spent 500 billion on nothing but air. Can they show us the beneficiaries of the billions. China carries on with their daily routines while we pay they price for what is not ours. We embraced HIV/AIDS now we must embrace covid. Government knew where those people who cam from europe were. Why did they allow the situation to be where it is. Those people should have stayed in isolation and leave the rest of us alone. The President can go jump. I didn’t steal i didnt benefit i refuse to give my body for experimentation.

  8. Alan 6 December 2021 at 12:40 pm #

    As a retired California nurse recently asked, “Why do the protected need to be protected from the unprotected by forcing the unprotected to use the protection that did not protect the protected in the first place?” If the vaccine works to prevent infection, those vaccinated have nothing to worry about. If the vaccine does not prevent infection, the vaccinated are at some risk and the unvaccinated are less likely to choose a vaccine that does not work well.

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