SAHRC ‘inundated’ with complaints from people ‘being forced’ to get jabs

Companies have also approached the South African Human Rights Commission for clarity and guidance on the matter.

A vaccinator preparing the COVID-19 vaccine. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Friday that it had been inundated with complaints from people who claimed they had been put under pressure to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Companies had also approached the commission for more clarity and guidance on the matter.

On Friday morning, acting Health Minister Mmamaloko Kubayi-Ngubane again stressed vaccination was purely voluntary, confirming employers were not allowed to force workers to get the jab.

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Nevertheless, government encouraged all eligible South Africans to get their jabs as the nation strives for herd immunity.

Scientists say mass vaccination is the quickest way to achieve herd immunity, which in turn will allow the nation to break the cycle of surge and devastating lockdown.

But getting inoculated was not mandatory.

The commission's Buang Jones said they would also be looking at the reasons why some people were refusing to get inoculated.

“The reasons may range from medical, religious or other constitutional accounts. But complainants will be requested to take us through their reasoning and the team will be offering advice to those who have complained to the commission.”

Jones said companies had also raised concerns about the negative impact that COVID-19 had had on their finances.

“That they would like staff to be at work and ensure that the company functions optimally. Their concern is there will be increases in sick leave taken and it will affect production. They are also concerned about the rights of other employees to have chosen to take the vaccine.”

The commission said it would be taking complaints until next week before it would start assessing the data and making recommendations.

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