Zimbabwe will bar unvaccinated government employees from reporting for work after a deadline for compulsory Covid-19 vaccination elapsed on Friday.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is trying to encourage more people to get vaccinated against coronavirus.
The southern Africa country was among the first on the continent to vaccinate against Covid-19, but less than 2.5 million people out of its population of 15 million people have been fully vaccinated.
Authorities say they want to vaccinate at least 60 per cent of the population by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity.
On September 14, civil servants were given a month to get vaccinated.
In a circular dated October 14, Health and Child Care Permanent Secretary Jasper Chimedza said those barred from work will not get paid.
“Please note that members who fail to produce the vaccination certificates shall not be allowed to report for duty in an endeavour to implement (the) government’s thrust of minimising the spread and effect of the novel Covid-19 pandemic,” Dr Chimedza said.
“Those who will not attend to their daily duties due to non-compliance shall be deemed to be absent from work and consequential action will be taken.”
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the country’s main labour body, last month took the government to court challenging the compulsory vaccination drive.
ZCTU says the government directive infringes on workers’ rights and must be scrapped. The case is yet to be heard after the High Court dismissed an application by the labour body for it to be handled on an urgent basis.
Some private businesses have barred unvaccinated employees from reporting on duty. Zimbabwe’s vaccination rates have dropped significantly after Covid-19 started falling.
As of October 14, the country had recorded 132 251 Covid-19 cases and 4 655 deaths.