South Africa's national Health Department wants mandatory vaccination in certain industries. But while jabbing was important, acting DG Nicholas Crisp said forcing vaccination by law was the wrong approach.
A Business Day report says Crisp made these comments during a televised debate that included Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffrey, Discovery Health CEO Ryan Noach and public health lawyer Safura Abdool Carrim. Jeffrey repeated President Cyril Ramaphosa’s answer to the National Assembly on Friday.
He had said: “No one should be forced to be vaccinated. Instead we need to use the available scientific evidence to encourage people to be vaccinated to protect themselves and the people about them.” Jeffrey listed provisions in the Constitution for bodily integrity plus the right to freedom of religion and belief. “Rights must be read in conjunction with one another,” he said.
Jeffrey predicted that legal debate over workers’ right to refuse jabs and employers’ duty to ensure health and safety in the workplace would reach the top court. He speculated it was likely the Constitutional Court would rule in favour of employers, and mentioned trends in other countries that required vaccination for health workers and made admission to nightclubs contingent on presenting proof of vaccination. “Already some of our rights in the Constitution are limited, such as the right to travel.”
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