“You are not forced to be vaccinated, but time shall come when those who are not vaccinated won’t get jobs and won’t be able to board ZUPCO buses,” said the President when the vaccination programme kick-started in Zimbabwe back then in February this year.
From his voice, as usual, it sounded like a fairy tale. In support, Presidential Spokesperson also hammered the point home, “Those wishing to abstain from the vaccination programme are free to do so as long as they accept the onerous trade-off: namely that they may have to be barred from public spaces, including accessing offices, shops or riding on mass transits like ZUPCO,” he said.
Sounded like a barrage of threats, but slowly the Zimbabwean government has been living up to its word. It started with churches, sit-ins in restaurants and now the D-day for the big issue jobs just came knocking on the doors of the public service workers.
Civil servants still have rights and remain protected by the constitution on their choices to get vaccinated or not.
Unfortunately, the government is using clever diction to march civil servants to vaccination points. It’s a matter of choices and consequences.
First, the Public Service Commission announced that public workers who do not report for duty will not be paid and will face disciplinary action. In the follow-up, the cabinet ‘resolved that no unvaccinated civil servants will be allowed to come to work.”
It’s a matrix, but when solved it means that when you are not vaccinated then you will not go to work. If you don’t report for duty (as you are required to until vaccination) then you are bound to face disciplinary action.
All things considered, the actions of the government is critical to catalyzing proper management of the Public Health Act in curbing the pandemic.
Zimbabwe is not the first country in the world to make such a declaration. Compulsory vaccination for the public service has already been declared in other countries such as the United States of America, Kenya, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Australia, England, Wales, Fiji and New Brunswick among others. France has recently suspended 3 000 unvaccinated health workers as it had set a 15 September deadline.
Other African countries mulling mandatory vaccination for the public service include Nigeria, Rwanda and Togo.
Vaccine passports are topical across the globe for people to access services and their offices.
Perhaps, it will be less archaic if the government of Zimbabwe direct most of its efforts and campaigns in getting the general populace vaccinated due to the knowledge of the overwhelming benefits of getting the jab.
The main reason people are delaying getting vaccinated is the lack of knowledge and having more questions than answers on the composition of the vaccines.
In the end, for all activities to return to normal, the country should first reach herd immunity, which is about 60% of the population.
Zimbabwe remains one of the most vaccinated populations in Africa with 12% of its people fully vaccinated.