Get a jab or resign, Zimbabwe govt tells state workers

The southern African country has already made the vaccine mandatory for trading in markets, working out at gyms, frequenting restaurants and sitting university exams. Some private employers have followed suit.

A member of the military administers the SinoVac vaccine to a citizen at a mobile clinic in Emganwini township, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on 3 August 2021. Picture: Zinyange Auntony/AFP

HARARE - Zimbabwe's government on Tuesday said it would force unvaccinated civil servants and teachers to resign in a bid to ramp up the uptake of COVID-19 jabs.

The southern African country has already made the vaccine mandatory for trading in markets, working out at gyms, frequenting restaurants and sitting university exams. Some private employers have followed suit.

Those measures have sparked outrage and overwhelmed thinly supplied inoculation centres, where it is not uncommon to find people queueing as early as 4 am to secure a jab.

"If you are a government employee, for the protection of others and the people you are serving, get vaccinated," Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said on local radio.

"But if you want to enjoy your rights... you can resign," he added, noting that the same would apply to teachers.

Zimbabwe counts around 300,000 civil servants including some 100,000 teachers.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions last month approached the High Court to challenge the compulsory innoculation of workers.

Just over 2.7 million of Zimbabwe's 15 million inhabitants have so far received a first vaccine dose.

The country has recorded more than 125,600 infections and 4,490 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.

It has so far relied on jabs produced in China, India and Russia, but recently approved the emergency use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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