More than 48,000 commented on this campaign about mandatory Covid-19 vaccines, here’s what they said
More than 47,000 South Africans have weighed in on the issue of vaccinations in the workplace, in schools and vaccine passports in an online platform launched by a civil organisation, Dear SA.
The platform invited citizens to give reasons for either supporting or rejecting the vaccine.
The organisation responded to a directive issued by the department of employment and labour in June, which says companies can, on the grounds of providing a safe workplace, mandate employees to get vaccinated.
The directive is clear in its emphasis on a non-violation of rights of employees who may refuse to get vaccinated on medical, religious and constitutional grounds.
“Employers should find a reasonable resolution that accommodates all parties where employees refuse to be vaccinated for medical and constitutional grounds,” said minister Thulas Nxesi.
Dear SA said employers intending to implement mandatory vaccination must inform employees of their right to refuse the jab.
During a national address earlier this month, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the national health department was considering implementing a vaccine passport that would allow vaccinated individuals access to certain venues and events.
Dear SA questioned the change from the commitment made by Ramaphosa in February this year, where he said vaccines, though important in the fight against Covid-19, would not be mandatory.
“Nobody will be forced to take this vaccine. Nobody will be forbidden from travelling, from enrolling at school, or from taking part in any public activity if they have not been vaccinated. Nobody will be given this vaccine against their will, nor will the vaccine be administered in secret,” said Ramaphosa.
There is mixed opinion on the vaccine.
Nicole, who is against the jab, alleged that the government is using bullying tactics to get people vaccinated.
Monique cited freedom of choice as the reason for her anti-vax stance.
“Vaccines can be dangerous for some people with conditions being exacerbated by the vaccine. Children should also not be forced to take something to exercise their basic right to education."
Mya supports vaccination, saying there is enough scientific evidence and information confirming the safety of the jabs.
“There is scientific proof that vaccines help to stop the spread of viruses and diseases, and sometimes even rid them entirely. People who are not getting vaccinated are putting everyone at a higher risk of disease. Someone might be OK when infected with Covid-19, but they can infect someone else who dies from it. If you don't want the vaccine that is your choice, but then you must not be allowed to travel, go to events, go to excursions or school.”
Wouter said vaccination is important for the economy.
“The faster we are vaccinated as a nation the faster our economy can go back to normal.”
Seventy-eight percent of TimesLIVE readers who responded to a poll about mandatory vaccination said the constitutional rights of all citizens must come first, 20% said vaccination is important to reach herd immunity.
Three percent said vaccination should be mandatory for high-risk individuals.