Aspen backs Discovery's move to introduce compulsory vaccinations

CEO supports company’s move in becoming first major corporate in SA to make vaccination mandatory.

The CEO of SA's largest pharmaceutical company Aspen Pharmacare, Stephen Saad has backed a move by Discovery to introduce mandatory vaccinations for its staff members. Discovery intends to implement the mandatory vaccination policy from 1 January 2022. The company stated in its annual report released last week that it had a "moral and legal obligation" to introduce the policy and make people healthier. It has become the first major corporate in the country to make it compulsory for all staff to be vaccinated. Saad said while he was unsure of whether he can legally introduce a similar policy at Aspen, on a personal level, he felt Discovery had made the right move and that sometimes it was ‘better to be a leader than a follower’.

Saad added, “If logic prevails, we really all should be vaccinated because not being vaccinated is two things – you put yourself at risk and create risk for others.” Discovery said that the mandatory vaccination policy recognises employees' "right to object to the vaccination” and will include a process to consider the "employee’s health, religious and other legal rights and seek to balance these with the rights of all employees across the group". The discussion over whether to make vaccines mandatory in SA is just getting started. So far, the country has fully inoculated about 15% of adults. Health Minister Joe Phaahla told the National Council on Provinces on Tuesday it is "a matter we're discussing". He admitted that he’s quite certain a time will come when public facilities will not be accessible without proof of vaccination.