Namibia’s Minister of Justice Yvonne Dausab stated during a Covid-19 briefing at State House that the government is considering the possibility of introducing mandatory vaccinations in the country.
According to Dausab, “… for the moment, we are looking at all the options, and there has been quite a bit of comparative work done. I am sure the attorney general will provide the advice required to make a determination as to which direction Namibia should take.”
Dausab said the reason why the government has not taken a hard stance on mandatory vaccination yet was, among other reasons, a lack of vaccines in the country.
“When there is a decision made . . . you need to ensure that the service that you need to provide is freely available to a large contingent of our society,” she added.
She said the government will ensure that a responsible, proportional decision is taken, which takes a number of issues into account considering Namibia being a constitutional democracy.
“For instance, employers, under the provisions of the Labour Act, should at least consult members of that particular employment space on the reasons why they are taking the decision to make vaccination mandatory.
“That conversation is extremely important so that people understand why they are subjects,” she said.
Members of the public must be aware of the risks associated with not getting vaccinated, she added.
Dausab stated that whether on religious or health-related grounds, some exceptions will be allowed.
“But the ultimate is that the independent aperture, which are the courts, may have to make a firm determination about whether or not mandatory vaccinations are offending the provisions of the Namibian Constitution, and whether or not the pandemic we are fighting is reason enough to subject society to mandatory vaccination,” Dausab said. Attorney general Festus Mbandeka last week said the Cabinet has set up various committees to consider ways to accelerate vaccination, and mandatory vaccination is just one option.
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