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What the vaccine mandate task team could consider

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What the vaccine mandate task team could consider

Forced jabs? Exclusion from public settings? Incentives? These are the approaches in other countries

Sunday Times Reporter
The vaccine mandate task team announced by president Cyril Ramaphosa has a range of options to choose from.
TASK MASTERS The vaccine mandate task team announced by president Cyril Ramaphosa has a range of options to choose from.
Image: 123rf/niceideas

Social scientists at the University of the Western Australia trawled the global headlines and came up with this list of possible Covid-19 vaccine mandates: 

Government mandates

Forced vaccination: Some jurisdictions require vaccination in specific scenarios, and public health authorities occasionally invoke this tool without enforcing it.

Criminalised non-vaccination: Greece and Indonesia are imposing fines on people who refuse a Covid-19 vaccine.

Withholding financial benefits: Australia is the only country to remove financial entitlements from unvaccinated families but this policy has not been expanded to cover Covid-19 vaccines. Indonesia recently permitted local governments to enact sanctions such as “delays or suspension of social aids, or delays or suspension of access to public services” for those who do not receive a Covid-19 vaccine.

One option the task team could consider is exclusion from places of entertainment for the unjabbed.
GATE KEEPING One option the task team could consider is exclusion from places of entertainment for the unjabbed.
Image: 123rf/14ktgold

Exclusion from public settings: Unvaccinated Californian children cannot enrol in school. Children in European countries cannot enrol in early education and care without being fully vaccinated. Similar Covid-19 “public space” exclusions are being used in private businesses and spaces for adults and children, mandated by governments in countries including Germany, Israel, France and Italy via vaccine passports. Crucially, these affect not just public institutions but access to private hospitality venues or events.

International, interprovincial or regional travel: Yellow fever vaccines are required for passengers travelling to and from countries with transmission risk — a scheme recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and adopted by member states. The EU Digital Green Certificates travel pass system lifts travels restriction between the 27 EU member states, based on an individual’s Covid-19 vaccination record and/or testing or recovery status.

Mandates for certain employment types: Governments can impose vaccination requirements for certain workers, particularly with public-facing duties or proximity to vulnerable individuals. Italy was the first EU country to make the Covid-19 vaccine mandatory for all health workers. Consequences for refusal range from transfer to suspension without pay for up to a year.

“Empowerment” of employers: Governments can legislate to allow or encourage employers to mandate vaccines for their employees.

Weekly draws in SA are offering cash prizes as a Covid-19 vaccination incentive.
MOTIVATION Weekly draws in SA are offering cash prizes as a Covid-19 vaccination incentive.
Image: SA Corona Virus Online Portal

Incentives: Depending on their scale and setting, they may be regarded as a form of coercion. Worldwide, governments and public and private sector organisations have introduced purpose-built incentives for Covid-19 vaccinations. In SA, anyone over 50 who gets vaccinated receives a R200 voucher and everyone vaccinated goes into weekly draws with cash prizes.

Just as they can legislate to empower, governments can legislate to limit or constrain the scope of private sector mandates.

Collective requirements: Mandates shape individuals’ behaviour by allocating opportunities or consequences based on their vaccination status. For the first time, with vaccination of any type, governments are imposing collective requirements specifically for Covid-19 vaccination, applying carrots and sticks to the population based on coverage rates. Borders reopening or lockdowns ending once vaccine coverage reaches certain levels, can encourage individuals towards accepting the vaccines.

Private sector mandates

Employment mandates: In certain circumstances, employers can make vaccination mandatory for their employees, depending on the context and legal system.

Business-to-client mandates: Businesses and organisations have scope to make vaccination mandatory for their clients as well as their workers. Airlines are adding Covid-19 vaccination to existing terms and conditions of carriage. Several SA universities have made vaccines mandatory for students and staff.

Government limitations: Just as they can legislate to empower, governments can legislate to limit or constrain the scope of private sector mandates.

Exemptions

Medical exemptions are always necessary for individuals with contraindications. However, the rigidity or discretionary nature of medical exemptions and who can grant them has proved contentious. Other exemptions can cater to religion or personal beliefs; these exist in many US states, but there is a legislative trend towards restricting or removing them. Governments imposing mandates decide who can provide and access exemptions and on what grounds. When the private sector imposes mandates, governments can also regulate exemption processes and categories, or leave these to organisations. Private sectors can decide on their own exemption categories, grounds, and granters within the confines of the law. — compiled by Dave Chambers

Source: COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates: An Australian Attitudinal Study, Vaccine, November 30

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