Red Flag Over President Mnangagwa COVID-19 Vaccine Threat

Harare- Amnesty International Zimbabwe has raised a red flag over recent remarks by President Emmerson Mnangagwa that there will come a time when those who have not been vaccinated will not have access to services.

In a statement, amnesty expressed concern over the threats saying they are a potential violation of rights guaranteed in the constitution and international law.

“On 25 February President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced at a public rally that although vaccination will not be mandatory, there will come a time when those who have not been inoculated will not have access to jobs and public transport.

“His statements were reiterated by his governing party’s ZANU PF youth secretary, Godfrey Mugwadi, who stated that those who refuse to be vaccinated were a threat to national security. Amnesty International is concerned that the potential threats of mandatory vaccination made by the Zimbabwean authorities violate rights guaranteed in the constitution and international law,” read the statement

Amnesty added “Whilst the authorities have obligations to safeguard people’s right to life and promote public health, no one should be forced to receive vaccination without their consent. The right to consensual medical treatment should be respected.

“The constitution of Zimbabwe guarantees the right to personal security, in particular the right not to be subjected to medical experimentation without one’s consent. The Public Health Act provides, however, that the Minister of Health may, by notice in the gazette, authorise the compulsory immunization of children and people with disabilities, in the interest of public health.

“The deadly impact of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world has led to government measures that pose threats to a range of human rights, as states endeavour to prevent the spread of the virus and distribute much-needed vaccines.

“States are obliged to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are available, accessible, affordable and of good quality for everyone without discrimination. In that regard, states must devise national COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans that are accessible, inclusive and non-discriminatory. The Zimbabwean government’s response to Covid-19 and the management of the vaccine rollout should be done without violating any rights and the state must ensure that citizens are protected from the life-threatening pandemic.

“States must ensure that any vaccines distributed are deemed safe and effective through rigorous trials by independent and objective regulatory agencies, and making information available in a timely, transparent, and accessible fashion to allow for public scrutiny. COVID-19 vaccines should be scrutinised for quality and acceptability through strict approval processes.”

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