Mandatory vaccinations may be South Africa’s last resort to achieve herd immunity and, hopefully, reduce the impact of COVID-19.
Ramaphosa explains mandatory vaccinations
During Sunday’s ‘family meeting’, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed after numerous consultations with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the Presidential Coordinating Committee (PCC), and leading scientists, a decision was taken to keep the country at Alert Level 1 and observe the daily infections and hospitalisation data for the next week.
A more stern approach that may be taken, the president said, is making vaccination mandatory in the near future.
The president revealed a task team has been set up to gather information on the implementation of mandatory vaccinations in specific industries and locations. The task team, Ramaphosa explained, “will report to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Vaccination chaired by the Deputy President, which will make recommendations to Cabinet on a fair and sustainable approach to vaccine mandates.”
“We realise that the introduction of such measures is a difficult and complex issue, but if we do not address this seriously and as a matter of urgency, we will continue to be vulnerable to new variants and will continue to suffer new waves of infection,” he said.
Already, based on the latest daily vaccination data, South Africa has administered more than 25.2 million doses, the majority of which are first doses.
However, at this pace, Ramaphosa stressed, new variants will continue mutating and threatening vulnerable immune systems.
“We have therefore been undertaking engagements with social partners and other stakeholders on introducing measures that make vaccination a condition for access to workplaces, public events, public transport and public establishments,” he said.
South Africa reacts to mandatory vaccinations
Of course, the stance taken by the government is contrary to promises made at the start of the pandemic, where Ramaphosa had made it categorically clear that inoculation was a choice.
Suffice it to say, this did not register well with many South Africans who took to social media to share their views. Here are some of those reactions:
#MandatoryVaccination How can a government that doesn't care if ppl hv water , electricity , proper health care , adequate high level education , proper roads , proper police and effective justice system and jobs be more worried about vaccines . ANC is a real poes 🖕🏽🖕🏽🖕🏽🖕🏽— Black Child (@AfricanMoeskont) November 28, 2021
“We’re not forcing you,” they say. “We’re just taking away everything you need until you consent. “— Dr S U N R I S E ✨ (@sheabutterhun) November 28, 2021
They call this “choice.”
DO NOT COMPLY!
Cyril Ramaphosa want to make vaccination mandatory in a democratic South Africa.— Truthteller (@Truthte83602973) November 28, 2021
We are taking it to the streets, we can’t be forced to take vaccines if we don’t want to. #MandatoryVaccination pic.twitter.com/yD740kt3JE
We have been hungry and unemployed for years, no one has ever forced us to eat or work, if they really cared so much, why didn't they?#PutSouthAficansFirst#MandatoryVaccination pic.twitter.com/dTC7Dkzkk2— 🇿🇦 Ralph (comrade fear) 🇱🇸 (@astone_chaole) November 29, 2021
Now that certain services are being restricted to vaccinated persons only, I wish to announce to the general public that I am fully vaccinated and will be running errands for unvaccinated and anti-vax citizens at a fee. #Vaccinated #MandatoryVaccination— Carol (@Carol1mcs) November 28, 2021