The government has ordered all its employees to be fully vaccinated with both doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine by 15 October and if they refuse they will face disciplinary proceedings for failing to obey a lawful instruction.
Zimbabwe has so far approved five COVID-19 vaccines namely Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Sputnik V, Covaxin, Sinopharm and Sinovac.
In terms of Statutory Instrument 234 of 2021 gazetted on Friday, unvaccinated civil servants will be barred from work stations and will also not receive their salaries while they are barred, after 15 October.
Where a civil servant has a valid excuse not to have been vaccinated by 15 October, and that reason is accepted by their Ministry head and the Public Service Commission (PSC), the deadline is extended to 31 December at the latest.
SI234 is the 35th amendment to national lockdown regulations and was gazetted by Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Constantino Chiwenga using his powers under public health laws to combat infections of COVID-19. The relevant section of the amendment as it concerns civil servants reads:
Every member of the Public Service shall be fully vaccinated, and any member not so vaccinated shall be barred from the workplace after 15 October 2021, and not be paid while he or she is so barred; (any member) who refuses to be fully vaccinated shall be subject to disciplinary proceedings on the basis that he or she failed to obey a lawful instruction.
Provided that if the head of Ministry or head of department is satisfied that any member of the Public Service who is employed in that Ministry or department 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 Commission), the head concerned may in relation to that member extend the vaccine mandate to no later than 31 December 2021.
October 15 is exactly four weeks from yesterday, the date SI234 was gazetted. Four weeks is the generally accepted gap between the first and second jabs.