The possibility of mandatory vaccinations has been a hot topic of debate in recent weeks, especially after financial services firm Discovery Group became the latest employer to announce plans to make vaccination compulsory for workers.
Discovery Group chief Adrian Gore said: “Discovery intends to implement a mandatory vaccination policy effective 1 January 2022, given the clear moral and social obligation as informed by our core purpose to make people healthier and to enhance and protect all employees’ lives; and by our values, particularly, acting as a force for social good; and supported by a legal obligation to protect and safeguard our people from all potential risks.”
It has now been reported that the government is in ongoing discussions to consider making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for public servants if the voluntary uptake doesn’t increase to an acceptable level as set by the Department of Health.
“Discussions are ongoing with stakeholders and organised labour to consider the introduction of a mandatory vaccine mandate, along with the parameters of the OHS direction in case voluntary uptake does not increase to an acceptable level”, Public service and administration director-general Yoliswa Makhasi wrote on Wednesday.
Last month, South Africa’s biggest trade union federation, Cosatu, opposed such prospects as spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla said: “We reject the idea because it is a weapon that will be used to discriminate against those who hold different beliefs from mainstream. We prefer that dialogue is used and not coercion to convince workers and South Africans to vaccinate.”
They warned that mandatory vaccination will not work and may distract on the work needed to encourage South Africans to be vaccinated, Sowetan Live reports.
On the other hand, the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), supported this notion of making vaccines mandatory.
“The national executive committee committed to continue to encourage all members of society including learners to get vaccinated so that we can reach the required level of protection projected by scientists to be 80% of the population. We need to defeat anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists with accurate information that can be accessible to all,” Sadtu said.
In addition, the Department of Health is reportedly working alongside businesses to rollout a number of new incentives to encourage the country to vaccinate, including R100 vouchers.
According to the department spokesperson, Foster Mohale, these incentives form part of an ongoing partnership with the country’s business sector and more details are expected to be provided on Friday morning
A notice was also sent by Business For South Africa (B4SA) on Wednesday, indicating that a R100 ‘Vooma Vaccination Voucher’ would be given to people over the age of 60 who get vaccinated in the month of November, as BusinessTech explains.