Centre for Democracy and Economic Initiatives (Cdedi) has given the Ministry of Health (MoH) a seven-day ultimatum to give policy direction on ‘no vaccine, no work’ policy some employers are implementing.
In a statement released on Monday signed by Cdedi executive director Sylvester Namiwa, the organisation said some employers continue to implement ‘no vaccine no work’ policy without MoH intervention.
Reads the statement in part: “Both the public and private institutions are currently outclassing each other by imposing mandatory Covid-19 testing and vaccination contrary to what the ministry announced.
“Malawians would like to know as to where these institutions are getting the mandate to impose the Covid-19 mandatory testing and vaccination from.”
Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) executive director George Jobe on Monday agreed with Cdedi’s position, saying the action of some employers is regrettable.
“The employers are carelessly coming in without awareness. They just say everyone must get vaccinated.
“ T h o s e ma k i n g vaccination mandatory must wait until government gives proper direction,” he said.
Society of Medical Doctors president Victor Mithi also said it was unfortunate that some employers are forcing workers to get the vaccine.
He said: “For now, we have few vaccines in the country, so it will not make sense for everyone to get vaccinated. We cannot bar them from doing some things yet they cannot access the vaccine.
“For now, government can enforce the other preventive measures because those do not involve a curative treatment, meaning it will not go against our medical ethics too.”
But in an interview y e s t e r d a y, M o H spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe backed the ministry ’s silence on the matter, saying it was beyond their jurisdiction to intervene.
He said: “We have already mentioned that healthcare, be it a medical procedure or vaccines is on voluntary basis. We must also understand that it is not up to us to do anything to these institutions, but for human rights bodies to do so if it is infringing somebody’s rights.
“Our mandate is not to defend people’s rights because there are other organisations that do this. Ours is to give information to the people that it is against policy to force people to get medical procedures or vaccines.”
Within the month of August, four companies have either disclosed making vaccination mandatory or rewarded those vaccinated.
As of on Monday, 405 722 people have been fully vaccinated with AstraZaneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.