Govt sticks to its guns on mandatory jabs

A health worker receiving COVID-19 jab

Ministry of Health says it is still consulting with the Justice Ministry on how it will roll out the controversial mandatory COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

This follows the announcement made by Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda on 16th December last year on its plans to introduce a mandatory vaccination drive in January this year for certain categories including health workers and those in the public service.

Those in the social sector including journalists are also earmarked for the compulsory jab.

“Further, let me point out that the COVID-19 vaccines will be made mandatory for certain categories of people and the specific categories will be announced in due course,” the Minister disclosed in December.

The decision divided opinions across the country with some welcoming it while human rights organisations condemned the move arguing it goes against human rights principles.

On 13th January, High Court Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda dismissed a case in which Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiative (CDEDI) and a journalist Mundango Nyirenda applied for an injunction and judicial review against government’s proposal to implement mandatory jabs for frontline workers.

Chiponda: The public will be duly informed on how the mandatory vaccination in those groups of people will proceed

He faulted the two parties for suing the wrong parties such as the Attorney General and failing to show sufficient interest in the matter and ordered them to foot the costs for wasting the court’s time.

Judge Nyirenda noted that there is nothing unconstitutional about vaccinations saying that the Constitutional only bars forced medical experiments or trial further noting that the vaccines are not medical experiments or trial.

It is apparent that the developments at the court have given government an impetus on the issue with the Ministry of Health thus communicating its position if the COVID-19 January 14th update is anything to go by.

“As communicated earlier, that the Ministry intends to roll out the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination among selected groups of people, the public is informed that the Ministry is currently in consultation with the Ministry of Justice on the modalities of the mandatory vaccine rollout.

“The public will be duly informed on how the mandatory vaccination in those groups of people will proceed. It is important to note that this is being done in order to safeguard the health of the public,” read the 14th January COVID-19 update.