healthcareBusinessLive reports that the deans of SA’s medical and dental schools have recommended compulsory coronavirus vaccination for their students and the general healthcare workforce, arguing it will protect individuals from serious illness and help slow the spread of the disease.

Healthcare workers are at particularly high risk because their jobs often expose them to high levels of the virus that causes Covid-19. The recommendation comes as the debate about mandatory vaccination policies intensifies. Financial services and health insurer Discovery announced last week it would move to a mandatory vaccination policy for its SA-based staff from January. Various other employers, including private school operator Curro, are considering introducing similar policies. The SA Committee of Medical Deans (Sacomd) and the SA Committee of Dental Deans (Sacodd) indicated in a joint statement on Tuesday: “The case for Covid-19 immunisation transcends individual benefit and has major benefits for the good of the broader health facility community, including fellow colleagues and patients whose lives are entrusted to the care of the healthcare worker. As such, it is a moral imperative for healthcare to submit to vaccination against Covid-19.” The deans also recommended booster shots for healthcare workers who have already been immunised with a single shot of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. Trade union Solidarity, which has previously said it was opposed to mandatory vaccination, said it had received a complaint about Discovery’s policy from one of its members, but had yet to determine whether to take legal action. Trade union federation Cosatu said it would prefer to see workers volunteer to get vaccinated.


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