Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Ouch! Anti-vaxxers might be forced to get Covid-19 vaccine

The health minister said this would likely be aimed at workplaces, restaurants, cinemas and gyms.

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla on Friday said government was discussing with various roleplayers the compulsory vaccination of adults against Covid-19 in South Africa.

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The minister said this would likely be aimed at workplaces, restaurants, cinemas and gyms. But no decision had been taken on mandatory vaccinations.

“It’s a matter that has been raised and we are discussing under what conditions this might be possible. So, it’s not something that has been decided on.

“But in my own view, in terms of what is possible, we don’t foresee some kind of national government regulations, which says everybody must vaccinate,” Phaahla said.

He was speaking during a media briefing regarding government’s efforts in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Service providers

Phaahla said government does not want to force citizens to get vaccinated, but a sector-based approach would likely work.

“…What is possible, and I believe we would consider, is where various service providers or areas of entertainment and even workplaces that is a possibility where [a] locally determined requirement can be either at work or where people receive particular services [like] restaurants, cinemas, gyms and so on to protect each and every one.

“We believe that those are the things that could be done but we don’t really foresee where it can be regulated as part of the disaster management so say [vaccines] are compulsory for every adult,” he said.

Phaahla also revealed that citizens aged between 18-34 were responding positively to government’s vaccination drive.

Last Friday, government officially opened the registration and vaccination to all adults after a slow uptake of vaccines among other age groups.

The minister said on 20 August, they managed to register more than 560,000 people and vaccinated more than 81,000.

Even the weekend numbers were much higher, he said.

“Since Monday 23 August our overall daily vaccinations have been above 240,000 even reaching above 260,000, with 268,000 on Wednesday and 265,000 yesterday on Thursday,” Phaahla said.

The ratio of the number of women and men getting vaccinated was also narrowing, standing at 58,5 females to 41,5 males.

Phaahla said this was likely due to young people who were eager to get vaccinated.

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