Aspen Pharmacare chief executive Stephen Saad has supported a move by Discovery to introduce mandatory vaccinations for its staff members. Picture: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg.
Aspen Pharmacare chief executive Stephen Saad has supported a move by Discovery to introduce mandatory vaccinations for its staff members. Picture: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg.

Aspen CEO supports mandatory vaccinations in SA

By Dieketseng Maleke Time of article published Sep 3, 2021

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Aspen Pharmacare chief executive Stephen Saad has supported a move by Discovery to introduce mandatory vaccinations for its staff members.

This comes after Discovery in its annual results published on Thursday announced that it intended to move to a mandatory vaccination policy for employees from January 1 next year. The company said arrangements would be made to accommodate employees as much as possible who did not want to be vaccinated.

In an interview with a broadcaster, Saad said in his view he thought that Discovery was in the right. “If logic prevails, we really should all be vaccinated. Not being vaccinated causes issues; you are putting yourself at risk and creating risk for others. I don’t think it’s fair.

“I am not sure of the legal implications that it can be or should be mandatory, I completely subscribe to it.”

He said, however, he was unsure of whether he can legally introduce a mandatory vaccination policy at Aspen.

Private businesses can introduce their vaccination policies, and the government is now looking at options to make mandatory vaccination a national policy.

While an employer may fire an employee who refuses to be vaccinated if the employer has a mandatory vaccination programme, there are still workplace measures the employer has to take.

According to law experts, in June 2021, the Consolidated Covid-19 Occupational Health and Safety Direction in the Workplace (OHS Directive) were updated and contemplated, for the first time, that employers may consider whether mandatory vaccination may be appropriate for some or all its employees in the workplace based on the operational requirements of the employer.

Law specialist at Werksmans Attorneys, Bradley Workman-Davies said:

“If the employee continues to refuse vaccination, the employer must try to accommodate the employee with workplace measures (social distancing, isolation, PPE) or in a different position that does not require the employee to be vaccinated.”

Meanwhile, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations are not on the cards at this stage. He said it was unlikely that an official regulation will be introduced which required everyone to be vaccinated. However, he said some business sectors might need mandatory inoculation policies in place.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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