(Ecofin Agency) - The World Health Organization reported last September that only 15 African countries had reached the 10% vaccination threshold against Covid-19. A month after, the UN agency estimated that only five countries would reach 40% by the end of 2021.
South African telecommunications group MTN says it will make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for its employees in all markets where it operates. As of January 2022, all those who have not done so will no longer be able to access the company's premises. The telecom group says this decision is aimed at protecting the health and safety of its employees and workplaces. It will also help increase the rate of vaccination against Covid-19 in its 17 markets.
“The science is clear. Vaccination against Covid-19 reduces rates of serious infections, hospitalizations and deaths. As an employer, we have a responsibility to ensure that our workplaces are guided by the highest health and safety standards, and this informed our decision to make the Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for our staff,” said CEO Ralph Mupita.
“Our new Covid-19 policy recognizes that some of our markets do not have adequate access to vaccines. It also recognizes some low-risk roles that will be accommodated with full-time work from home or alternative arrangements, but it will be a small population within our workforce,” he added.
As of September 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that only 15 African countries had already vaccinated 10% of their populations. Of the countries that have reached the 10% vaccination mark, three are MTN Group markets. These are South Africa, Botswana and Eswatini. The WHO estimates that only five African countries will reach the 40% immunization threshold by the end of the year.
MTN Group says its new vaccination policy will help meet the group's legal obligations to provide a safe workplace for its employees. The measure will be subject to risk assessment and local laws that apply to the group, its operating companies and subsidiaries.
While it recognizes the right of employees to request exemption from the policy and/or refuse vaccination on certain clearly defined reasons, the group stresses that staff who are not exempted from vaccination - whether through risk assessment or agreed exclusions - but still refuse vaccination will have their employment contracts terminated.