An online opinion poll run by South African broadcaster Newzroom Africa on Twitter had the majority of the more than 1000 respondents (49%) agreeing that “employees who don’t want to get vaccinated should work from home.” Only 20.9% said workers who refuse to be vaccinated “should be fired.”

Way forward

With the recent discovery of the omicron variant in South Africa, the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, recently spoke about the need for the country to work on “on a fair and sustainable approach to vaccine mandates.”

He also spoke about how vaccines have “dramatically reduced severe illness, hospitalization, and death in South Africa and across the world.”

Continentwide, “Only about 102 million Africans, or 7.5%, of the continent’s population is fully vaccinated,” according to Dr. Abdou Salam Gueye, emergency director with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional Africa office.

Poor vaccine supply seems to play a bigger role in this than vaccine hesitancy.

MTN’s stance could very easily become a model for the telecom industry in Africa given its importance and the high number of employees the sector employs in many countries. But most importantly too, the financial might and influence that such companies have. 

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