HARARE, Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe has ordered all government employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, or lose pay if they refuse. But one of the largest government employee groups is opposing compulsory vaccination, while another is demanding compliance with the directive.
After a cabinet meeting late Tuesday, Zimbabwe’s Information Minister Monica Mutswangwa told reporters that the government was concerned about the continued rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.
“In light of the continuous increase in the COVID-19 cases, the Cabinet approved the following: Decongestion of workplaces, both public and private sector. Taking the lead, the government has further reduced its workforce to 25%. Vaccination personnel will be given priority; two, that courts of law be opened only for remand and urgent matters; And three, that all civil servants should be vaccinated and those who fall ill without vaccination will not be entitled to COVID-19 insurance,” Mutswangwa said.
Robson Shereni, head of Zimbabwe’s Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union, says the directive should be disregarded.
“We are saying that the vaccination program should be voluntary, no worker should be forced to do the vaccination. The government should really do more to get information about people getting vaccinated. This is the priority the government should focus on. Instead of forcing workers to get vaccinated,” Shereni said.
Sifiso Ndlovu, head of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, said the government’s campaign to vaccinate all its employees is a noble one.
“The nation is facing an emergency situation which can be disastrous if necessary measures are not taken to protect the public from exposure to the infection. Therefore, to encourage and motivate civil servants, this decision has been taken on a balance scale to protect lives in our country and as one of the measures to control this infection to all our compatriots. Want to encourage vaccination. Nadlovu said.
About 1,247,000 Zimbabweans out of a population of 14 million have received their first shot, and about 650,000 have received their second vaccination since the program began in February.
Shereni said the union would file a lawsuit if the vaccines became mandatory.
Shereni said, “If the Zimbabwean government insists on implementing the vaccination program towards Zimbabwean government workers with a command approach, we will certainly stop the process by going to the courts to demand justice in the process.” Will give.”
Zimbabwe has 88,415 confirmed coronavirus infections and 2,747 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks the global outbreak. The government says that with an intensive vaccination programme, the numbers will not increase.