Cape Town – Zimbabwe says it will bar unvaccinated government workers from reporting for duty following the lapse of the compulsory Covid-19 vaccination deadline on Friday last week, according to reports.
Reuters reported on Monday that the move was part of the southern African country’s efforts to combat Covid-19.
“Please note that members who fail to produce the vaccination certificates shall not be allowed to report for duty, in an endeavour to implement (the) government’s thrust of minimising the spread and effect of the novel Covid-19 pandemic.
“Those who will not attend to their daily duties due to non-compliance shall be deemed to be absent from work and consequential action will be taken,” it said, referring to no pay and potential disciplinary action, the report quoted a circular signed by health permanent secretary Jasper Chimedza as saying.
The country has recorded 4 655 Covid-19-related deaths from 132 251 infections since March 2020, as of October 14.
Zimbabwe was among the first on the continent to vaccinate against Covid-19, but only less than 2.5 million people out of its population of 15 million people have been fully vaccinated, The East Africa reported.
In September the country said it would force unvaccinated civil servants and teachers to resign in a bid to ramp up the uptake of Covid-19 jabs.
At that time, the government had already made the vaccine mandatory for trading in markets, working out at gyms, frequenting restaurants and sitting university exams. Some private employers have followed suit.
“If you are a government employee, for the protection of others and the people you are serving, get vaccinated,” Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said at the time.
“But if you want to enjoy your rights… you can resign,” he added, noting that the same would apply to teachers.
Zimbabwe counts around 300 000 civil servants including some 100 000 teachers.
Picture: Getty Images
Compiled by Betha Madhomu
Additional reporting by AFP