Govt, civil servants on collision course over mandatory vaccination

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Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) president Enock Dongo

BY PHYLLIS MBANJE

THE government is on a collision course with human rights groups and its workers after saying its unvaccinated workers would not receive salaries.

Last week, Public Service Commission (PSC) secretary Jonathan Wutawunashe in communiqué said:  “In line with section 3(a)(i) and (ii) of Statutory Instrument 234 of 2021, members not vaccinated should be barred from the workplace and should not be paid while they are barred. Any member that is not fully vaccinated without a reasonable excuse shall be subject to disciplinary proceedings.”

However, civil servants’ unions yesterday said Zimbabwe had no laws that compel people to undergo compulsory vaccinations.

“Government has an obligation to respect the rights of its workers,” Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) president Enock Dongo told NewsDay.

“We actually encourage members to get vaccinated because of the many advantages which include reducing new infections, hospitalisations and deaths. But we are also saying some have genuine reasons why they don’t want to be vaccinated and they must not be forced.”

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou said: “As much as we encourage our members to be vaccinated, we are against any mandatory vaccination. The government must invest in incentives for vaccination.”


Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou

PTUZ secretary for health Nyaradzo Munjodzi added: “While we encourage people to be vaccinated, we have always said compelling people to do so is violation of individual rights.”

The World Health Organisation has said mandatory vaccination should only be considered after all measures to encourage voluntary inoculation had failed.

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