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Know your rights on the Covid-19 vaccines

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In the wake of the new variant of Covid-19 and the continued spread of the virus there is an urgent need for a vaccine. A vaccine is a simple, safe, and effective way to protect people against harmful diseases before they come into contact with them. It uses your body’s natural defences to build resistance to specific infections and makes your immune system stronger. There are quite a number of vaccines created globally to prevent the spread of the virus, South Africa has procured few of these vaccines from different parts of the world. Laws have been put in place on the management of the vaccines.

Because of uncertainty which revolves around the safety, effectiveness, and the process to be followed on the administration of the vaccine; it is important before deciding on the vaccine to know your rights:

  • Before the vaccines can be released to the public, they must undergo rigorous tests to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Vaccines are made to save lives not to oppress, bewitch, possess, or indoctrinate.
  • The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) is responsible to oversee that the health and well-being of people is at the core.
  • The vaccines are a ‘public good’ thus will be offered free to everyone, people with medical schemes can receive through their facilities for free and those without can do so on public facilities.
  • The distribution of the vaccine will follow a phased approach;

Phase 1 will focus on frontline healthcare workers.

Phase 2 will vaccinate essential workers, persons in congregate settings, persons over 60 years and persons over 18 years with co-morbidities.

Phase 3 will focus on persons older than 18 years.

Will you be forced to take the vaccine?

We often receive questions on the Covid-19 vaccine and whether or not it will be compulsory for all individuals in South Africa. Currently no regulations are in place that can force individuals to be vaccinated. Section 12 of the Constitution provides that; ‘everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right to security in and control over their body.’ Vaccines will therefore not be mandatory for South African citizens. This right can be subject to limitations within the individual’s working environment.

Mandatory vaccination within the workplace.

If employers were to require vaccination among their staff, the legality of these mandates would likely be determined by the South African labour law. Should employers decide to adopt a compulsory vaccination regulation, careful consideration will be required to ensure that it doesn’t violate the individual’s constitutional rights. The legal team at Faure & Faure Inc. Attorneys will be able to provide legal guidelines in this regard to assist both employees and employers.

For more information and staying informed visit: SAcoronavirus.co.za.

Stay safe, sanitize, wear a mask and practice social distance.

Article written by Unathi Mpikwa, candidate attorney at Faure & Faure Inc. For more information, email contact@faurefaure.co.za.

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