As COVID-19 takes its toll on the health and economy of the country the no jab no job government policy will soon be implemented, with several senior public servants on the firing line.
The no jab no policy makes the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all government workers, including those in state owned enterprises. The effect of the policy will soon show, with some senior officers choosing not to get vaccinated.
The government had given a grace period starting on November 1, 2021 until the end 31 January 2022. It seems clear many unvaccinated government workers will be fired this year for refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine, and they don’t have much legal recourse to fight back.
Most have cited religious grounds for not getting the vaccine, others say their current health condition prevents them from getting jabbed. There might be room for the latter to be exempted from the policy, while the former has not been successful even in advanced countries.
Now that COVID-19 has hit the country, it may be necessary for the government to re-asses its stance on the vaccine mandate. The government will need people to implement its policies, it cannot afford to let go of some of its talented workers.
Some governments last year explored “soft” mandates which pushed for regular testing and masking. Flexibility in that regard should be offered especially at a time when COVID-19 is already widespread within our community.
With 1 in 2 of the population in Honiara infected, it seems pointless to push for vaccine mandates. Many would develop immunity through exposure to the virus, so it’s safe to say we are already on our way to achieving some level of herd immunity - even if we took the risky path.
Proponents of a testing option have said it’s a way to boost workplace safety without generating as much employee blowback or impact the economy negatively.