South Africa reportedly pondering mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations: report

The possibility of compulsory vaccinations for certain groups of people could be on the cards.

According to a Sunday Times report, the possibility of mandatory vaccinations for specific groups is being discussed by the ministerial advisory committee on vaccines. This is according to the committee’s chair, professor Barry Schoub and comes as more experts and health activists call for compulsory vaccination of certain groups such as health workers and other high-risk groups to help contain further spread of the virus. However, the department of health’s spokesperson, Popo Maja refuted the claims, saying “compulsory vaccination is not on the table for discussion”. The debate about compulsory vaccinations or the imposition of limitations for those refusing vaccinations has grown to be topical over the past few months, not in South Africa, but the world over as many countries battle a more transmissible Delta variant.

The country’s leading health experts have also voiced their views on the matter, with Professor Shabir Madhi, the head of the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit at Wits University, also making it clear that while he is usually not in favour of mandatory vaccinations, the current crisis warrants it. Should South Africa decide to make these compulsory for certain groups of society, it would be joining a growing list of countries that have opted for a similar route. These include Australia, which has made vaccinations compulsory for high-risk aged-care workers. Canada also recently announced it will make it a requirement for all federal public workers to be vaccinated. Other countries that have moved to impose a variety of similar requirements include France, Italy and the U.S.