Govt Warned Against Force-marching People To Take Vaccines

Health experts have warned the government against “force-marching” people to take vaccines saying the approach will trigger resistance from the citizenry.

They speak after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s “no-one will escape being vaccinated” remarks have been interpreted to mean that vaccination was mandatory.

Officially, vaccination remains voluntary.

Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said even in a crisis situation like COVID-19, governments must respect human rights and urged the government to increase vaccine literacy and awareness. He said:

_What is important is for government to scale up information dissemination and convince the general public to appreciate why they need to be vaccinated because taking up vaccines should be done willingly by people with COVID-19 vaccine literacy._

_Force-marching people to take vaccines will not result in high uptake, but in resistance and by imposing vaccines, the country may lose its vaccination programme gains where it is considered highly by other countries in the region._

Threatening people by saying it will be compulsory will infringe on their human rights and it does not make sense to do so when the country does not have adequate vaccines in Bulawayo and Harare at the moment and there are several people who got their first jab, but are failing to get the second dose._

Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association president Johannes Marisa said Mnangagwa was just trying to relay the message that it is important for everyone to get vaccinated. He added:

_It is unfortunate but people cannot be forced to take vaccines as everyone has their own rights. If really government compels people to get vaccinated, then I foresee heaps of litigation papers in a short time._

The government has so far approved Chinese vaccines Sinovac and Sinopharm, Russian jab Sputnik V, and India’s Covaxin.

More: Pindula News; NewsDay

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