By Nyaradzo Nyere
The Government of Zimbabwe has announced that health workers who are not vaccinated will not be compensated if they get sick from Covid-19 as they are considered a health threat to patients and their colleagues.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa said after 14 July 2021 the 20% of health workers who are not vaccinated will not receive compensation while the 80% that have been vaccinated will be covered.
Minister Mutsvangwa’s statement comes amid reports of rising cases of Covid-19 infections. As of 29 June 2021, according to information provided by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Zimbabwe had 48,533 confirmed cases, including 38,323 recoveries and 1,761 deaths.
According to the World Health Organisation vaccines are one of the most effective tools for protecting people against Covid-19.
Consequently, with Covid-19 vaccination under way in many countries, some may be considering whether to make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory in order to increase vaccination rates and achieve public health goals.
But others are not happy with the government’s announcement.
Masimba Ndoro, Vice President of Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, says the non-compensation policy seems to be harsh and non-progressive with regards to the campaign to encourage health workers to get vaccinated.
“It shows a huge detachment from what’s on the ground as far as access to vaccines is concerned. There has been a deficit on demand and supply, and government should work more on making sure that sufficient doses are available at a specific time.
“Government should also work more on educating the population including the health care worker on the need to get vaccinated,” he said.
According to the WHO, mandatory vaccination is perhaps most often discussed in the context of health and social care, particularly where health workers have direct contact with populations at high risk of Covid-19 infection or severe illness or death.
“Contemporary forms of “mandatory vaccination” compel vaccination by direct or indirect threats of imposing restrictions in cases of non-compliance. Typically, mandatory vaccination policies permit a limited number of exceptions recognised by legitimate authorities. Despite its name, ‘mandatory vaccination” is not truly compulsory,” states the WHO report.