State-funded human rights watchdog, the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), has cautioned the government against implementing a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination without a legal and policy framework guiding its implementation.
Recently, there has been a public outcry that some privately-owned companies and government departments, ministries and agencies (MDAs) are forcing their employees to go for vaccination or stop reporting for duties.
But MHRC, in a statement issued on Tuesday, stressed that that Covid-19 vaccination remains voluntary and that employers who are demanding proof of vaccination from their workers are violating the law.
The Commission has advised the government to stick to World Health Organisation’s regulations, which stipulate that Covid-19 vaccine is not mandatory.
MHRC further states that any government decision to adopt mandatory Covid-19 vaccination or stick to voluntary Covid-19 vaccination should be guided by law.
Last week, the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) executive director Sylvester Namiwa wrote Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda to declare the government’s position on mandatory Covid-19 vaccination.
Namiwa contended that the legal advice on the silently introduced and implemented ‘NO VACCINE, NO WORK POLICY’ of containing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic runs counter to the ‘voluntary vaccination’, which the Minister of Health and Population, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, has been preaching all along.
Nyirenda confirmed receipt of the letter, but refused to give his opinion on the matter.
The AG said he would only comment after consulting other stakeholders in the government system.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health says only 470,000 Malawians have been fully vaccinated, so far.