Zimbabwe bars unvaccinated civil servants from work

Civil servants who have not taken a Covid-19 vaccine will be barred from work starting Friday when a grace period announced by the government last month lapses.

The ministry of health has warned that health workers could lose their jobs if they continue to defy a September 14 decree imposing mandatory vaccination.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government gave all civil servants a month’s notice last month to get the jabs by October 15. There are no publicly available statistics of the numbers that have complied.

In a circular to the heads of hospitals, provincial medical directors and parastatals under the health ministry on Thursday, health secretary (Rtd) Air Commodore Jasper Chimedza referenced statutory instrument 234 of 2021 which says in part: “Every member of the Public Service shall be fully vaccinated, and any member… not so vaccinated shall be barred from the workplace after the 15th October, 2021, and not be paid while he or she is so barred.”

Chimedza said: “Please note that members who fail to produce the vaccination certificates shall not be allowed to report for duty in the endeavour to implementing the government’s thrust of minimising the spread and effect of the novel Covid-19 pandemic.

“Those who will not attend to their daily duties due to non-compliance shall be deemed to be absent from work and consequential action shall be taken.”

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The government currently has no idea how many civil servants have not taken the vaccines, or their distribution. In a clear admission of this, Chimedza asked heads of departments to give weekly updates “on the strength of staff within their areas of jurisdiction.”

Similar circulars have gone out to other departments in the civil service, including education which forms the bulk of the civil service with an estimated 130,000 teachers.

Some civil servants have religious of health reasons for not being vaccinated. The government has left wiggling room, saying those with a “reasonable excuse” for not getting vaccinated can be given up to December 31.

The statutory instrument published last month said where a government employee “has a reasonable excuse for not being fully vaccinated by the 15th October, 2021, which excuse shall be recorded in writing and promptly notified by the head concerned to the Civil Service Commission, the head concerned may in relation to that member extend the vaccine mandate to no later than the 31st December, 2021.”-zimlive