HealthcareShould Employers Dismiss Staff Over Covid-19 Vaccination Hesitancy?

Alestide KabogoOctober 3, 202232612 min
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The current tragic situation surrounding tennis star Novak Djokovic, who was denied entry to Australia because he is unvaccinated, is just one of many incidents that will be experienced worldwide when vaccine mandates take effect in the coming days.

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In Rwanda, the government and health providers have urged people and residents to be vaccinated to create resilience in the face of the pandemic and ensure that infection cases are mild even if they do occur.

After it was discovered that the New Coronavirus (Omicron) was spreading quickly in a couple of months, the government amended and tightened further safeguards against this new wave of Omicron variant.

The government has examined COVID-19 prevention guidelines, requiring mandatory vaccination to gain access to public vaccination. Organizations, businesses, houses of worship, and public transportation companies are requesting vaccination confirmation from citizens who enter their premises.

While around half of the country’s 12 million people are wholly vaccinated with two doses, the topic of whether an employer can dismiss an employee for refusing to get vaccinated remains unanswered.

 Scientific verdict:

According to doctors and scientists, vaccines have a significant role in decreasing the risk of infection and in the event of infection, reducing the intensity of illness, the likelihood of hospitalization, and the risk of being in critical condition.

Again, according to multiple medical opinions, including the World Health Organization, being unvaccinated increases the risks of getting Covid-19, which implies more chances of passing it on to other people.

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In order to safeguard their employees, staff, and clients; certain businesses, both private and public, require proof of vaccination.

Who’s Winning in Court?

Legal experts and practitioners say that if it is demonstrated that an employee who has not been vaccinated poses a risk of exposing other employees, the employee could be dismissed for health and safety reasons.
According to The New Times, the Rwanda Workers’ Trade Union Confederation (CESTRAR) Secretary-General reveals that Employers should not terminate staff contracts because they are not vaccinated.

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While there are no legal reasons for dismissing an employee for refusing to be vaccinated, he explained that if it is demonstrated that the person who refuses to be vaccinated poses a risk of infecting other employees, this might be grounds for dismissal on health and safety reasons. In fact, the Union does not support non-compliance with health measures.

In addition, He added that the Union does not support people who refuse to get vaccinated in an effort to fight the epidemic that has affected the labor market. However, they do urge that measures be put in place to raise awareness about the necessity of vaccination and the health risks of neglecting to get vaccinated.

He added that vaccination remains voluntary because companies and the government do not force people to be vaccinated. However, while it is voluntary, the government and businesses may impose restrictions on access to particular services and settings. Unvaccinated individuals, for example, maybe unable to enter work premises, resulting in additional sanctions and ineligibility to work.

While vaccination is voluntary, an employer may implement safety measures following the government’s Standard Operating Procedures, which employees may be sanctioned if they do not follow.

The government has a mandate and responsibility to ensure that all Rwandans have a right to good health, as outlined in Article 45 of the constitution, which allows for the promotion of activities aimed at good health, with the State having the duty to mobilize the population for such activities and to assist them in their implementation.

What is Behind Rwanda’s Successful Rapid Covid-19 Vaccination Drive?

 According to global vaccination statistics, Rwanda is one of the few African countries where the Covid-19 vaccine push is moving at the fastest pace. Over 5.5 million Rwandans had been fully vaccinated as early as January 2022, while over 7.7 million received their first dose. Over 200,000 people have also obtained the booster.

Given the vaccine hoarding and protectionism, it’s fascinating to see how Rwanda was able to reach these worldwide milestones in the middle of Africa’s suffering.

With the published figures, some of Africa’s most populous countries, like Nigeria, have only vaccinated 3.5 percent of their total population, but Rwanda has enough vaccines to vaccinate 70% of its population.

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The government made significant efforts to obtain vaccines with the backbone of a good leader who cares about people’s health, starting with the head of State, who is highly concerned about the issue.

“The rapid, fair, transparent, and equal delivery of vaccines in Rwanda has instilled confidence in international organizations to provide more vaccines to Rwanda.”

The vaccines are the last rays of hope for this pandemic, which took nearly 2 million lives in 2020 and 3.5 million in 2021 as the death toll began to decline after the vaccines were introduced in late 2020.

Rwanda is one of the few African countries to have reached its goal of vaccinating over 40% of the population by December 2021. The target was missed by 92 of the 194 member states.

Alestide Kabogo

Alestide Kabogo is a motivated young Leader with an exceedingly motivation in harnessing the potential of young people on the continent. He is on a mission to create, design, and advocate for youth-friendly solutions as a platform that can easily address the most pressing health challenges and economic opportunities worldwide through a wide range of innovations. He is a more vigorous advocate for youth empowerment programs in sustainability concepts. He believes in the power of young people and what they can achieve when they are provided with the opportunities, skills, and tools. He gets to enjoy digging deep into the difficulties of healthcare in Africa and how they might be addressed. He is highly interested in leveraging his writing skills to communicate scientific, medical, and health-related trends to a broad audience, and the vibrant Africa-wide tech ecosystem. Alestide is straightaway pursuing an honors degree in Global Challenges at the African Leadership University.

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